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“Oh no! Not the bees!”: Nicolas Cage’s maddest, most Nicolas Cage-y roles

Hollywood's panto prince sure knows how to goof off

As you’d expect from a man who once went on a literal quest for the Holy Grail, Nicolas Cage is a bit barmy. Quite as mad on-screen as he is off it, the veteran of 103 roles has a reputation for over-acting, which has led him to chalk up some of the wackiest film moments of all time. Here are his craziest, most Nicolas Cage-y roles.

Mandy (2018)

Perhaps the most Nicolas Cage-y role of them all, which is really saying something, Mandy saw our beautiful panto prince avenging the death of his girlfriend in blistering, brutal fashion. This peculiar, psychedelic thriller has everything you could want from an unhinged Cage, including scenes with giant mounds of cocaine, evil bikers, brutal chainsaw attacks and Cage’s own grimacing, blood-splattered face, which will haunt you for the rest of your days. Cinema gold. 

Mom and Dad (2017)

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‘Losing his shit’ is a key facet of any perfect Nicolas Cage role, and there’s a particular scene in this oddball horror comedy in which Cage and his wife, played by Selma Blair, are possessed by evil and attempt to kill their own kids – of course – in which he has one of most seminal breakdowns ever to hit celluloid. It involves a pool table, a mallet and a Misfits shirt and you’ll have to watch the film to find out what happens next. 

Con Air (1997)

Iconic not least for Cage’s receding prison mullet, Con Air is blockbuster Cage with our hero placed in the most ludicrous of circumstances; on a plane full of highly dangerous criminals which they hijack, before Cage saves the day in a fittingly flamboyant fashion with the immortal line: “Put. The. Bunny. Back.” Very, very silly but very, very entertaining. 

Ghost Rider (2007)

Cage entered the Marvel universe on the back of a motorbike as the titular Ghost Rider aka Johnny Blaze, a superhero stunt rider who just so happens to be Satan’s bounty hunter. Cue lots of leather, fire and cowboy hats and hanging out in graveyards. The film scores bonus points for featuring original Easy Rider, Peter Fonda, as an extremely sassy devil. 

Season of The Witch (2011)

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Castles! Christopher Lee! Witchcraft! Cagey is in his element in this haunted historical fantasy flick, in which he gets to wear a hessian sackcloth, draw a sword in a dramatic fashion and surround himself with fire. 

Grindhouse (2007)

Cage’s part in Quentin Tarantino Robert Rodriguez coproduction Grindhouse is distinctly meta and ever so brief – roughly four seconds in total – but totally worth a mention. He appears in a film trailer within the film, for the casually titled ‘Werewolf Women of the SS’, which itself was directed by Rob Zombie. A pitch perfect 1970s B-movie pastiche Cage appears as a cackling version of Fu Manchu. 

The Wicker Man (2006)

The remake that nobody asked for, this surreal take on the cult horror classic saw the film transported to a small island off the coast of Washington state, with Cage taking on the cursed Edward Woodward policeman role. Cue much paganism, a fiery finale and a scene with some livid bees and an overacting Cage which has since become meme fodder. 

Face/Off (1997)

Cage plays a sinister terrorist to John Travolta’s CIA agent in one of the 1990s more ludicrous action films. Famously, the pair swap faces and things only get weirder from there. Cage was born to play sadists and here he excels at being a total creep as well as having a bash at being the good guy too. 

Wild At Heart (1990)

Nicolas Cage is kind of a walking, talking David Lynch movie anyway, so that one of his formative roles is as a Lynchian anti-hero is no surprise. Cage is Sailor Ripley, a horny, violent Elvis-obsessive outlaw in a snakeskin jacket on the run with his lover Lula (Laura Dern). Oh and as with all the best Cage films, there’s lots and lots of fire. 

Raising Arizona (1987)

When the Coen Brothers meet Cage only surreal joy can be the result. Playing yet another outlaw, Cage is charming as an ex-con in a Hawaiian shirt who nicks a baby. You’ll be un-shocked to hear that yes, there are bikers, yes there are guns and yes, there’s a scene in which Cage pulls some tights on his head and holds up a grocery store.

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