“You say I get to play someone named Castor Troy? I don’t even need to read the script, I’m IN.”
~Nicholas Cage in 1997
There’s no exact science to how we come up with our article topics. Sometimes we see something in the news that piques our interest, sometimes we just think about pizza and think, what if this, but bad.
And sometimes we get a message from friend of AFFotD and occasional contributor, SarahIndie, and the article just writes itself.
So that’s what we’re going to do! Note, this is NOT going to be a list of which CHARACTERS are the best. It’s just which NAMES are the best. Because if we had to sit down and watch every Nic Cage performance, we would not be able to finish before we reach the heat death of the universe. But names, those we can look at and evaluate.
So here we go. No build up, just NAMES! HOLD ONTO YOUR HATS!
103: Joe (Between Worlds, 2018)
102: Joe (Joe, 2013)
101: Joe (Bangkok Dangerous, 2008)
♫Here are the Joes
Yes all of the Joes
These are the times that
Just played someone
100: Seth (City of Angels, 1998)
99: Michael (Red Rock West, 1993)
98: Nicholas (TV movie) (The Best of Times, 1981)
97: Nicky (Racing With the Moon, 1984)
96: Eddie (Deadfall, 1993)
95: Troy (Dog Eat Dog, 2016)
94: Randy (Valley Girl, 1983)
93: John (Vengeance: A Love Story, 2017)
We’re going to just drop all the basic, generic, first-name-only character names at the top, because they are basic and generic. Other than the Joes. They get to be their own category. With a song and shit.
92: Frank (A Score to Settle, 2019)
91: Nathan (Color Out of Space, 2019)
Nic Cage was in six different movies in 2019.
90: Mike Chandler (211, 2018)
89: Ray (Looking Glass, 2018)
Nic Cage was in six different movies in 2018.
88: Brian (Inconceivable, 2017)
87: Brent (Mom and Dad, 2017)
Nic Cage only did five movies in 2017.
86: Frank Walsh (Primal, 2019)
We’ve never heard of this movie, but it involves a captured jaguar, an assassin, and a boat. Oh, and Frank Walsh is such a generic white name we’re pretty sure it’s running for Congress in Idaho.
And yes, this is the second time in 2019 he played someone named “Frank.”
85: Walter (Grand Isle, 2019)
84: Rob (Pig, in production)
Such a boring name. But this movie is going to win every Oscar. Here’s the IMDB description.
A truffle hunter who lives alone in the Oregonian wilderness must return to his past in Portland in search of his beloved foraging pig after she is kidnapped.
WE. ARE. ALL. IN. We want that synopsis tattooed on our chest. Fuck yes.
83: Stone (The Trust, 2016)
Hell yeah, look at that stash baby. If they bothered to give Stone here a last name, it might have bumped up a bit.
82: Detective Damon Reeves (10 Double Zero, in production)
Kind of a boring name. Nicolas Cage does not look like a Damon.
81: Frank Pierce (Bringing Out the Dead, 1999)
80: Kyle Miller (Trespass, 2011)
79: Jake Preston (Fire Birds, 1990)
78: Jack Singer (Honeymoon in Vegas, 1992)
77: Will Montgomery (Stolen, 2013)
These are all very forgettable first and last names from mostly forgettable movies that you probably can find on Netflix or some shit.
76: Eddie King (Arsenal, 2017)
75: Will Gerard (Seeking Justice, 2011)
74: Paul Maguire (Rage, 2014)
73: Johnny Collins (Zandalee, 1991)
72: Mike Lawford (Pay the Ghost, 2016)
71: Colin Pryce (The Runner, 2015)
We know you have questions. This picture is from Zandalee, which we saw described as and “erotic thriller starring Nicholas Cage.”
What the hell was happening in the early 90s!?
70: John Koestler (Knowing, 2009)
69(nice): Cris Johnson (Next, 2007)
Ugh, put an H in your name, Cris. Anyway, you will never be able to convince us that these two films are not the exact same movie.
68: Red Miller (Mandy, 2018)
No one on our staff has seen Mandy but we’ve been told it is wildin.
Are we the only ones that momentarily confused this character’s name for the dad from That 70’s Show?
67: Janitor (Wally’s Wonderland, in production)
Yo this movie looks INSANE.
66: Cook (Running With the Devil, 2019)
Apparently this is the part of the list where his name is just…a job? Oh fun fact, this if randomly the fourth film Nicolas Cage has done with Lawrence Fishborne.
65: Wylie (Jiu Jitsu, in production)
We don’t have comments on the name, but we do have comments on this movie, which is being described as “A new Sci-Fi Martial Arts franchise from Dimitri Logothetis, Director/Producer of Kickboxer: Retaliation.”
WHAT? TAKE OUR MONEY!
Every Nic Cage movie currently in production is literally a gift.
64: Marley (A Christmas Carol, 2001)
63: Doctor Tenma (Astro Boy, 2010)
62: Grug (The Croods, 2013, The Croods 2, in production)
Hiring Nic Cage for an animated film feels like a waste. 90% of the benefit of paying Nicolas Cage is to see whatever crazy shit his eyes feel like doing independent of his face.
61: Hero (Prisoners of the Ghostland, in production)
We don’t know if this name is going to change, or if it’s a fill in as they work on the script or something? We think it’s going to be the former, and the movie’s going to be one of those ones were no one actually is given an actual name but you never notice.
60: Superman (Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, 2018)
59: Ghost Rider (Ghost Rider, 2007/ Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, 2011)
58: Damon Macready / Big Daddy (Kick Ass, 2010)
Apparently we’re in the “Nic Cage as a superhero” section of the article now. Big Daddy becomes an increasingly uncomfortable superhero name the older Chloe Grace Moretz gets.
57: Spider-Man Noir (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, 2018)
We know we said you waste Nic Cage when you put him in something animated, but we’ll gladly make an exception here.
56: Hank Forrester (Snowden, 2016)
55: Captain McVay (USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage, 2016)
54: Gary Faulkner (Army of One, 2016)
Weirdly enough, of the five films Cage did in 2016, three of them were based on true stories. Admittedly his role in Snowden was a fictionalized amalgamation of different people, because Oliver Stone is gonna Oliver Stone, but the other two movies had him playing real people.
Hey, remember that random dude who said God told him to go to Afghanistan to kill Bin Laden, so he went over there, and then they turned that into a Nic Cage movie with Russel Brand playing God?
Yeah us neither.
53: John McLoughlin (World Trade Center, 2006)
52: Sgt. Jack Holcombe (The Frozen Ground, 2013)
51: Terence McDonagh (Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, 2009)
Every time Nic Cage plays a cop or a firefighter, the names are somehow different but exactly the same.
50: Captain Antonio Corelli (Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, 2001)
That is not the case when he plays Italian officers during World War II.
49: Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation, 2002)
48: Donald Kaufman (Adaptation, 2002)
Remember when Charlie Kaufman wrote himself into a screenplay, made up a twin brother, killed that twin brother off, and then gave a writing credit to the fictional brother? 2002 was wild.
47: Smokey (Rumble Fish, 1983)
We’ve never heard of this film, which was the third movie that Nicolas Cage appeared in, but holy shit look at this cast. Tom Waits, Dennis Hopper, Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane, Lawrence Fishburne, Chris Penn AND Nic Cage.
The movie made about $2 million in the box office. Anyway, Smokey’s a fun name.
46: Noah Kross (The Humanity Bureau)
Honestly it’s the Kross with a K that takes this from being “meh” to pretty decent.
Also, our editor-in-chief has seen this movie, and here’s his take on it. “This movie is nuts. It’s either super liberal or super conservative, and we can’t tell which one it is. It takes place in a post-climate-change-disaster world, there’s random death camps, and Canada is the hero. It’s a lot.”
45: David Spritz (The Weather Man, 2005)
44: Roy Waller (Matchstick Men, 2003)
43: Jack Campbell (The Family Man, 2000)
These are Cage’s “Man” roles with forgettable names.
42: Tom Welles (8MM, 1999)
41: Joe Enders (Windtalkers, 2002)
These are names that have some pizzaz to them that we can’t quite place, and are in movies that you probably remember, but also aren’t remarkable enough for us to actually talk about. This article is long enough already, we’re sure you appreciate us doing what we can to tighten it up where we can.
40: Ben Sanderson (Leaving Las Vegas, 1995)
This role won Cage his sole Oscar, but it wasn’t because of the name, which is “meh, fine” at best.
38: Bill Firpo (Trapped in Paradise, 1994)
37: Charlie Lang (It Could Happen to You, 1994)
36: Doug Chesnic (Guarding Tess, 1994)
1994 was a banner year for Nic Cage and “middling-at-best” character names.
35: Peter Loew (Vampire’s Kiss, 1988)
34: Charlie Bodell (Peggy Sue Got Married, 1986)
33: Ned Hanlan (The Boy in Blue, 1986)
32: Vincent Dwyer (The Cotton Club, 1984)
Here are some older roles that had not entirely boring names, but also names that aren’t interesting enough on their own to warrant individual examination. Again, trying to keep this insane 3,000 word article as tight as possible.
31: Evan Lake (Dying of the Light, 2014/Dark, 2017)
We don’t know why we like this name as much as we do, but it has a certain something behind it that intrigues us. Sounds like a destination that requires hiking.
And no this isn’t a name he had in two movies—Dark was an unreleased cut of Dying of the Light. The latter has a 4.4 average from about 10,000 user votes on IMDB, and an 8% Rotten Tomatoes rating. The former has a 7.5 rating on IMDB….from 75 user votes.
(We’re pretty sure both are bad).
30: Amod Odell (Amos & Andrew, 1993)
29: Sailor Ripley (Wild at Heart, 1990)
Again. Keeping it tight.
28: Ronny Cammareri (Moonstruck, 1987)
27: Al Columbato (Birdy, 1984)
26: Enrico Silvestri (Time to Kill, 1989)
This is where we’re going to lump together all the aggressively Italian character names that Nic Cage portrayed early in his career before he transcended ethnicity and became just “the crazy yelling man.”
25: Brad’s Bud (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, 1982)
Nic Cage’s first non-tv-movie film role was a small part in the classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High. He plays “Brad’s Bud.” We like that as a character name because it’s aspirational. You too can book a small part and end up becoming one of the most prolific actors of your graduation.
Like, it helps if your uncle is Francis Ford Coppola. But yeah, inspiring.
24: Ben Gates (National Treasure, 2004, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, 2007)
The character name is white bread as shit, but the National Treasure movies are some of the finest works of cinema to be put to the silver screen. Pardon our pun, but these films are truly two…very silly and dumb but enjoyable movies.
23: Rick Santoro (Snake Eyes, 1998)
If you remember this film, there’s a very good chance that you assumed that Nic Cage’s character in this was probably a hustler or whatever, because Rick Santoro sounds like the kind of person who would take you for $80 in a game of Three-Card Monte. But he’s a cop in this, apparently. Huh.
22: Rayford Steele (Left Behind, 2014)
Okay so first of all, it’s kind of hilarious to us that Nic Cage plays the main character in the film adaptation of the Christian book series about the Revelation. And also, his name is RAYFORD. STEELE. That’s the name of a porn star with low self-esteem.
21: Joe Exotic (Upcoming TV Miniseries)
The real credit for the name here goes to the actual Joe Exotic. Do you remember Tiger King? We really should have taken a step back to let that meme linger. We got all our Tiger King obsession over and done with in like, a two week span. This is the first time you’ve even thought about that documentary since mid-April.
20: Behmen (Season of the Witch, 2011)
If there’s one actor who should NOT be playing historical roles, it’s Nic Cage. Look at him. What’s the 14th century equivalent of a narc?
19: Balthazar (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, 2010)
Everything you need to know about this movie is that it’s mostly Jay Baruchel calling Nic Cage “Balthazar.” We also think he kept his haircut from this movie and just used it for Season of the Witch.
18: Zoc (The Ant Bully, 2006)
We don’t remember this movie, but it looks and sound really dumb, and it has an insane pedigree. This was animated, and had Meryl Streep, Paul Giamatti, Julia Roberts, and was produced by Tom Hanks. It lost money.
17: Speckles (G-Force, 2009)
Okay, our staff has no existence of this movie, where Sam Rockwell, Tracy Morgan, Penélope Cruz, Jon Favreau, and Steve Buscemi are the voices of, um “a specially trained squad of guinea pigs who are dispatched to stop a diabolical billionaire from taking over the world.”
This movie had Nic Cage play a CGI mole named Speckles and made three hundred million dollars. During a RECESSION. And this is honestly the first we’ve ever heard of it.
We’ve never been more confused with how the film industry works.
16: Yuri Orlov (Lords of War, 2005)
Nic Cage playing the son of Ukrainian immigrants with like, a super Eastern European name led us to search “Nic Cage Ethnicity.” So hey, if you’re curious, he’s half Italian (SHOCKER) and half German/Polish.
But Yuri Orlov is a juicy name, even though it is insane to try to attach it to the face of Nicholas Cage.
15: Milton (Drive Angry, 2011)
By the way, if you were worried about Nic Cage not being able to pull off Joe Exotic (and why on Earth would you question his ability to play the part he was born to play) let Milton from Drive Angry put you at ease.
14: Johnny Blaze (Ghost Rider, 2007/ Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, 2011)
He technically plays both Johnny Blaze AND Ghost Rider in this movie, but come on. Johnny Blaze. Admittedly, it’s a comic book character, and comic book character names have all the subtlety of a 17-year-old picking out a name for their fake ID.
It’s still an A+ character name, and we respect it.
13: Heartbreaker (TV Movie) (Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Brokenhearted, 1990)
Okay. So. We need to discuss something we just realized about the career of Nicolas Cage.
This TV movie, along with his 1981 debut, mark the only two times Nic Cage has EVER done TV work. Seriously. Not even as a cameo or anything. Other actors do walk-ons ALL THE TIEM. Brad Pitt has been on the since-cancelled Jim Jefferies Show, but Nicolas Cage, until the Joe Exotic miniseries comes out, will have never done TV work outside of his debut 40 years ago, and this 1990 David Lynch Twin Peaks-inspired avant-garde musical play where he breaks up with Laura Dern.
12: Araña (Kill Chain, 2019)
Haha what? All you need to know about this movie is that they were like, we’re going to cast Nicolas Cage, his name is going to be the Spanish word for “spider” and we’re going to dress him like this. Everyone involved in that series of decision is an American hero.
11: Fu Manchu (Grindhouse/Werewolf Women of the S.S. [short], 2007)
Yes we know between Araña and this things are starting to look super racist. Let’s move on.
10: Edward Malus (The Wicker Man, 2007)
9: Gallain (Outcast, 2014)
We now interrupt our article to gush about this absolutely insane Chinese-funded movie. This movie is absolutely bonkers. Hayden Christensen and Nicolas Cage are former soldiers from the CRUSADES who are in CHINA SOMEHOW. Christensen (a.k.a. Anakin Skywalker) has this haircut.
Also, Nic Cage plays a character named GALLAIN who has ONE EYE but they don’t show that with makeup, and instead Cage just CLOSES HIS RIGHT EYE SHUT whenever he’s on camera. SOMETIMES HE FORGETS. This movie rocks.
(It’s really bad)
8: Acid Yellow (Sonny, 2002)
The same year that Nic Cage appeared as two separate characters in Adaptation., receiving his second Academy Award nomination, this *gestures wildly* was going on too. Acid Yellow. Just jumping right the fuck in, aren’t we, Nic? We have no idea what’s going on in this picture, and we’re okay living with that mystery in our lives.
7: Man in Red Sports Car (Uncredited) (Never on Tuesday, 1989)
“What?” you may be shouting at the screen. “We’re this far along, and you’re giving it up for an uncredited role in some 1989 film I’ve never heard of? Goddamn it, how drunk were you guys when you wrote this.”
But if you just watch this scene, you’ll understand that, if anything, we haven’t even come close
6: Little Junior Brown (Kiss of Death, 1995)
HOLY SHIT this movie. HOLY SHIT.
Okay, so Nic Cage plays a character named Little Junior Brown. He dresses like *points up* and is a roided out gangster with a fantastically ridiculous name.
Again we ask you to watch another absolutely bonkers scene. It’s 30 seconds and it will change your life. This was the last film Nicolas Cage put out before winning a goddamn Oscar.
5: H.I. McDunnough (Raising Arizona, 1987)
H.I. (aka “hi”) McDunnough is the perfect name for Nic Cage’s ex-con, charmingly clueless child, um, kidnapper character. Leave it to the Coen brothers to come up with an all-timer character name for an all-timer (and possibly insane?) actor.
4: Memphis Raines (Gone in 60 Seconds, 2000)
Memphis Raines. That’s got some mustard on it. Memphis Raines. Just say it out loud a few times. It has power. It has speed. It has the kind of confidence that can steal 50 high-end cars for a British gangster while introducing a recently-Academy-Award-nominated Angelina Jolie to the larger American public. Memphis Raines. Hell yeah.
3: Stanley Goodspeed (The Rock, 1996)
Good lord, what an absolute flex. We forgot the name of Nic Cage’s character in The Rock, a “mild-mannered chemist” who teams up an ex-con played by Sean Connery to thwart a nerve gas attack on the city of San Francisco, and when we saw that it was Stanley. Goodspeed one of our staffers literally gasped, “Oh my God.”
Mid-90s Nic Cage was firing on ALL cylinders.
2: Cameron Poe (Con Air, 1997)
William Shakespeare once famously said, “Con Air fucking rules.” (Our 38-year-old drug dealer changed his name to William Shakespeare for reasons we’ve yet to fully grasp.) And Billy is right. Con Air is amazing.
On its surface, Cameron Poe shouldn’t be in the upper pantheon of Nic Cage character names. It’s a great name, sure, but is it Acid Yellow? Is it Gallain? Well no, but also, very much yes. If ever there were a better name for an Army Ranger who accidentally killed a man in a bar fight protecting his pregnant wife and unfairly being sentenced to ten years in prison than Cameron Poe, we’ve yet to find one. It’s almost perfect. Almost. Because perfection can only belong to…
1: Castor Troy (Face/Off, 1997)
There are a few moments in cinema history that change everything. That confound, inspire, move the needle. There’s “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” There’s Rocky Balboa, losing his bout against Apollo Creed. There’s bullet time in The Matrix, the storming of Normandy in Saving Private Ryan, “I Drink Your Milkshake“, the Psycho shower scene, “I’ll Have What She’s Having.”
And then there’s the decision to cast Nicolas Cage as a deranged murderous villain named Castor (derived from the Greek word for beaver) Troy, as well as the FBI agent who replaces his face with Castor Troy to infiltrate his gang. Where you can have a character pretending to be a character named Castor Troy doing shit like this.
Yes those are magnet boots in an offshore prison. There is no movie more perfect than Face/Off, and there are no three syllables more majestic than Castor Troy.
Nicolas Cage won an Academy Award in 1996. And in 1997, he only gave us two films. And they were gifts. With the most fantastic character names of his career. We should all aspire to live our lives like we’re 1997 Nicolas Cage.