Nicolas Cage in the 80s

Updated on February 17, 2020
Rachelle Williams profile image

I was an 80s teen, so I love to cover all things easily recognizable to Generation X!

Nicolas Cage in the 1980s
Nicolas Cage in the 1980s

Nicolas Cage was born on January 7, 1964, as Nicolas Kim Coppola, nephew of acclaimed film director Francis Ford Coppola. When Nicolas was only 15 years old, he approached his uncle to ask for a screen test, but the actor eventually decided to forgo any appearance of nepotism, so he changed his name and stepped back from his famous industry-connected family.

Nicolas was always a huge fan of superheroes and comic books, so he decided to take on the name of one of his favorite characters, Luke Cage, the superhero from Marvel Comics. As desired, most audience members had no idea he was a member of the Coppola family and he went on to carve out a slice of Hollywood success on his own acting merit.

Today, Nicolas Cage is an "A List" actor and he has been one for decades, but members of Generation X have fond memories of his prominent appearances in 80s movies...

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

In Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Nicolas Cage plays opposite Sean Penn, Judge Reinhold, Phoebe Cates, and Jennifer Jason Leigh. In this coming-of-age film, Cage plays the co-worker and trusted buddy to the main character (Reinhold). Fast Times was Cage's second film and here he is still credited as Nicolas Coppola.

This 80s movie is a Generation X staple, and it helped launch the careers of all of the stars named above, plus future Academy Award winners like Forest Whitaker, Eric Stoltz, and Anthony Edwards.

Valley Girl (1983)

In Valley Girl, Nicholas Cage is given a starring role. Here, he played opposite actress Deborah Foreman. The storyline is based on the classic Shakespearean love story of Romeo and Juliet. In this version of the classic tale, Foreman plays Julie, a girl from the valley, who meets Randy, a punk from the city.

Nicholas Cage plays Randy and two earn critical acclaim as they act out the parts of two people from totally different worlds who manage to stay together. Interestingly enough, it was Deborah Foreman who attracted most of the acclaim, but her star never caught fire while Cage went on to shine brightly.

Back in the '80s, the Valley Girl stereotype was a huge part of the culture. A "Valley Girl" was a fashionable and affluent teenage girl from the Valley in Southern California. She was vapid and self-centered, but not directly, intentionally mean. The characters Cher (Alicia Silverstone) and Dion (Stacey Dash) from Clueless are the perfect embodiment of valley girls, but the stereotype was first popularized in this 80s film.

Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

In Peggy Sue Got Married, Nicholas Cage co-stars opposite Kathleen Turner. In this film, Cage plays the role of Charlie Bodell, the cheating husband to Turner's character, Peggy Sue. Peggy Sue and Charlie were high school sweetheart's who only got married because Charlie knocked her up. On a high school reunion trip, Peggy Sue falls unconscious and wakes up 25 years earlier when she and Charlie were still just dating...

Under the direction of Cage's famous uncle, the film became a huge box office success, it received positive reviews from critics and it was nominated for three Academy Awards...at this point, Nicholas Cage was a bonafide star.

Incidentally, Peggy Sue Got Married also stars Cage's Academy Award-winning director cousin, Sofia Coppola, along with a then unknown Jim Carey and Catherine Hicks from the Child's Play franchise, and later known for 7th Heaven. It also featured one of the last appearances of classic film legend, Maureen O'Sullivan.

Further Success to Finish Out the 1980s

Nicholas Cage finished out the 1980s with massive success and critical acclaim in the Cohen Brother's film, Raising Arizona (1987), opposite Holly Hunter, Frances McDormand, and John Goodman (one simply cannot have a proper Cohen Bros film without the presence of either of the aforementioned actors). Cage also starred in Moonstruck (1987), opposite Cher and Olympia Dukakis.

While Raising Arizona has gone on to be a cult classic, Moonstruck was a major critical and commercial success, winning both Cher and Dukakis Academy Awards and another award to John Patrick Shanley for Best Original Screenplay.

Nicholas Cage has been married four times, the first time to actress Patricia Arquette. He has also been married to Lisa Marie Presley and two other women outside of the industry. His last divorce was granted last year in 2019.

Cage is said to be one of the most charitable and generous stars in Hollywood, and despite minor legal and financial issues, he is known for his personable nature.

Eventually, Nicolas Cage won an Academy Award for Best Actor for Leaving Las Vegas (1995), and as mentioned above, he has gone on to become one of Hollywood's biggest stars. However, many of us will always remember when we first got to know him from his many appearances in 80s movies.

Nicolas Cage Today
Nicolas Cage Today

What's Your Favorite Nicolas Cage Film?

My personal favorite Nicolas Cage movie is 8mm (1999), what is yours?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      5 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      I really like Nicolas Cage but lately, since the taxman has been chasing him it seems like he's put out some pretty (excuse this but ...) crappy movies. I still love him though.

      Excellent article!

    • Jennifer Mugrage profile image

      Jennifer Mugrage 

      6 weeks ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Awesome!!!

    • Rachelle Williams profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachelle Williams 

      8 weeks ago from Tempe, AZ

      You know what? I TOTALLY forgot about "Guarding Tess." I LOVE that one!

    • Jennifer Mugrage profile image

      Jennifer Mugrage 

      2 months ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Hey, fun article! I am Gen X too!

      Although Gen X, I missed out on a lot of pop culture. So I have not seen most of the movies you list. I discovered Nicholas Cage a little later, when he was older. I like that he's so distinctive ... slight stoop, trademark strained/gravelly voice. Not a dreamboat but an actor you don't forget.

      Out of the movies you list, I do abs love Moonstruck, especially that impassioned speech that Cage's character, Johnny, gives while standing the street.

      Other than that, I've seen Guarding Tess, where he plays opposite Shirley McClain, which is just funny, quirky, and well-acted, highly recommend. Also I've seen that one where Cage plays a guy who can see into the future. I liked that one, though I didn't like what the costume people did with his hair. :) He's balding; they should let it be.

    • Rachelle Williams profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachelle Williams 

      2 months ago from Tempe, AZ

      Linda, you definitely have to see Face Off if you don't see anything else on the list, Cage is opposite John Travolta in this one and it's quite an interesting film. Most of the other ones are unforgettable as well, they're just more on the quirky side... I'd love to read your review... :)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I never knew that Nicolas Cage was related to Francis Ford Coppola, so I was intrigued by your article right from the beginning. The only movie I know from your list is Peggy Sue Got Married. I watched it a long time ago and remember that I liked it. I'll look out for the other movies that you've described.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)