A lot of people seem to have forgotten that Nicolas Cage is one of the greatest actors who has ever lived. It’s easy to look at his recent body of work and be astonished at the way he’s become a paycheck C-lister, but that shouldn’t make us all forget that the man is a once-in-a-lifetime talent. After all, few actors have ever starred in some truly terrible films and still managed to deliver memorable performances. Even if we’re remembering them for all the wrong reasons.
One of the biggest contributing factors to Cage’s most dynamic and unforgettable roles has always been his hair. Sure, his attempts at accents and regional dialect have occasionally left us unimpressed and falling over with laughter, but that never matters when you’re caught up staring at the actor’s incredible mane of majestic hair. Some people might argue that a hairstyle is superfifical and doesn’t make the man, but in Cage’s case it has always begun and ended with his head and the artistic masterpieces that have been laid upon it. So to celebrate the beloved actor’s 51st birthday today, I have assembled my team of scientists and statisticians, and we have ranked the best and most powerful hairstyles from Nic Cage’s incredible movie career.
Honorable Mention: Outcast
We had an incredible laugh over the British accent that Cage showed off in the trailer for Outcast, but the film hasn’t been released yet, so I haven’t been able to watch this story of a Knight of the Crusade helping to restore order to the throne in China. But look at that hair! It’s like a goth stripper passed out on his natural bald spot.
25) Guarding Tess
A man’s hair doesn’t get much more professional and borderline elegant than this. Cage has had a few roles over the years requiring him to sport a high-and-tight, military cut or generally serious adult male style. This is the best and safest of his movie ‘dos.
You wouldn’t expect a psychopath like Castor Troy to have such a boyish hairstyle, but the short look actually made us pay more attention to Cage’s insane facial mannerisms and huge, bulging eyeballs. It’s almost as if Cage chooses his hairstyles for the sake of making a character more challenging. Again, he’s a brilliant actor that we take for granted.
23) Fast Times at Ridgemont High
It’s a classic 70s/80s doofus style, indicative of the role he was playing as a random shmuck working in fast food. It was almost an analogy of his career, though, as if Hollywood was telling Cage, “You want to be a star, Coppola boy? You have to earn those feathered layers like a general earns his stars, damn it.” And Cage would go on to do just that.
I call this one the Panicked Executive. It’s not all-the-way-professional, but it also doesn’t reveal signs of craziness on the outside. It’s well-styled for the role of a money man who puts his career first, but when this style is eventually on the head of a threatened, scared man, it can unleash the psychotic fury as fast as you can short sell a struggling studio’s stock.
21) Dying of the Light
As far as I can tell, this is the only movie role that Cage has gone full grey for, and that just reiterates my point about how important hair can be. He’s dying so his hair is grey. It’s goddamned brilliant.
20) The Weather Man
Look at that face! It’s as if he’s staring at the Academy’s voters and begging for Oscar consideration for one of his best roles since 2005, or at least another bowl of gruel. You just want to stick your fingers in that hair and mess it up even more, but then it would probably come off and mortal men are not strong enough to take on bald Nic Cage.
19) Bringing Out the Dead
A truly underrated Cage role that featured a broken man with a lunatic’s hairstyle, but underneath it was a sweet man who just wanted to get some f*cking sleep already. But the most important question about this hairstyle is whether or not it can catch the eye of a female junkie. Of course it can.
18) Ghost Rider
People love to hate this movie, but look at that daredevil/biker style. Whichever animal that hair came from had to have been something powerful, and perhaps even nature’s equivalent to a motorcycle that bursts into flames. My guess is a black stallion that died after kicking holes in a burning barn so all of the other horses could escape.
Whoa, where did Nic Cage go?!?! All I see is a grizzled loner with a temper as hot as the barrel of his gun.
The hair on his head says “caring single father who wants nothing more than to protect his only daughter from the evils of the world,” while the hair on his upper lip says “this is a dude who is teaching his daughter how to brutally murder bad guys.” Also, the eyebrows are impeccably groomed.
15) The Boy in Blue
Ladies, that poster should be hanging on your bedroom walls. How is it not already? Look at that headband game. A great hairstyle shouldn’t need an accessory to keep it tight, but a perfect hairstyle tells boundaries and expectations to f*ck off.
14) Bangkok Dangerous
Does that look like the face and hair of a killer for hire? Well, it looks a little more like a dad who once went to Woodstock and now wonders when the free love train fell off the rails. Then again, you’d never expect that guy to be able to put a bullet between your eyes, so we’ve witnessed the genius of Cage for the millionth time.
13) The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
These next three films not only came one right after the other, but they also represent a far more fascinating time in the evolution of Cage’s hair. Basically, beginning with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Cage began to transform into Chad Kroeger.
12) Season of the Witch
Here we see that the hair has lightened some, and despite having a story that took place hundreds of years ago, his facial hair is trimmed with precision. Still, Cage hadn’t yet reached full Nickelback, so he had one more evolutionary step to take.
11) Drive Angry
The funny thing about Drive Angry is that while the ticket-buying world seems to have hated it, critics didn’t completely loathe it as we would have expected. Hell, I love this strange, dumb movie. But far more importantly, with that slicked back blond hair and the big mound of mouth muff, Cage had finally achieved his dream of becoming Chad Kroeger. Cage’s most amazing talent isn’t that he can star in films, but that he can also play roles within roles.
10) Valley Girl
No 80s actor could touch this hair. It’s up there with Kurt Russell’s and Patrick Swayze’s feathered mullets and Arnold’s flat top. The feathering and coloring gives this hair its own role on top of Cage’s role as Randy. I want to reach through my monitor and rip this hair from his head so I can fuse it to my soul.
9) Peggy Sue Got Married
I want to surf that hairstyle. But only under the supervision of a lifeguard, because the undercurrent must be deadly with a wave like that.
8) Vampire’s Kiss
This movie was really f*cked up, even for the cocaine-fueled insanity of the late 80s. And as Peter’s life spirals out of control, his hair gets more and more ridiculous. It’s pretty wonderful, even if the movie was as crazy then as we think Cage is today.
I mean… holy cow. His hairline was running away from the plot.
It’s like Cage sat in the makeup chair and said, “Make me look like a grown man who attends Justin Timberlake concerts by himself.” This is easily the most unique style of Cage’s amazing acting career, and I hope that when he finally receives his Lifetime Achievement honor at the Oscars, this is the image that hangs prominently in the background.
5) Kiss of Death
The thing about this movie is that there is so much going on that needs to be talked about and even celebrated, chief among them Cage’s awesome performance as Little Junior Brown. But you can’t even focus on anything else because David Caruso’s acting is so amazingly bad. The last scene, when he marches into the strip club to take on Junior and he smashes the bottle and then pretends like it’s the world’s deadliest weapon… that’s the best, man. All the while, Cage went hardened, juiced-up mob bro for this role, and his face merkin is probably the greatest of his career.
This was Cage going full whackjob before he had truly mastered the craft. If you haven’t seen it, this highlight reel does the performance some justice, but it’s the Burt Reynolds hair that really steals the movie. That and “HIIIII-FUCKING-YA!”
Cage’s Johnny Collins is another spectacular over-the-top weirdo, but this hair is like that of a swashbuckling magician. The mustache looks like it got stuck to Erika Anderson’s leg during their wild love-making scenes, causing multiple takes and a lot of glue-sniffing. I bet Cage still dresses up like Johnny now and then.
2) Raising Arizona
Originally, Hi’s awful hair was going to be No. 1, but then Cage came to me in a dream and threatened to stab me if I didn’t snap out of it and show the real No. 1 hairstyle the respect that it truly deserves. While that’s certainly not an affront to this classic film, I just can’t ignore the awesomeness of…
1) Con Air
The No. 1 choice is never this obvious, but by the beard trimmer of the titans, this hairstyle transcends anything that Cage, or anyone else for that matter, has ever done in a film. I thought Kurt Russell’s ridiculous blown out mullet in Tango & Cash was a feat unlike any other, but Cameron Poe’s hair, especially when combined with that accent, is true American art. Look at it again and worship its awesomeness.