He has performed in leading roles in a variety of films, ranging from romantic comedies and dramas to science fiction and action films. In the early years of his career, Cage starred in films such as Valley Girl (1983), Racing with the Moon (1984), Birdy (1984), Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), Raising Arizona (1987), Moonstruck (1987), Vampire's Kiss (1989), Wild at Heart (1990), Honeymoon in Vegas (1992), and Red Rock West (1993).
Cage received an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance as an alcoholic Hollywood writer in Leaving Las Vegas (1995) before coming to the attention of wider audiences with mainstream films, such as The Rock (1996), Face/Off (1997), Con Air (1997), City of Angels (1998), and National Treasure (2004). He earned his second Academy Award nomination for his performance as Charlie and Donald Kaufman in Adaptation (2002). In 2002, he directed the film Sonny, for which he was nominated for Grand Special Prize at Deauville Film Festival. Cage owns the production company Saturn Films and has produced films such as Shadow of the Vampire (2000) and The Life of David Gale (2003).