Nicolas Cage at the 63rd Annual Berlinale International Film Festival

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The man, the meme, the legend: a history of Nicolas Cage memes

Nicolas Cage continues to captivate the internet, as longtime Hollywood legend and the subject of countless memes.


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Dec 6, 2023

Nicolas Cage has been acting on screen since 1981, and his decade-spanning career has treated audiences to many of his characteristically dramatic facial expressions. 

Here is a rundown of some of the most popular memes based off of Cage’s face and performances.

You Don’t Say

By far the most popular Nicolas Cage meme is called “you don’t say” or “oh really?” which shows Cage putting on a sarcastic, open-mouthed smile. According to Know Your Meme, the photo of Cage comes from the 1989 movie Vampire’s Kiss, in which Cage plays a man who is convinced he is a vampire.

Cage’s facial expression sky-rocketed to meme fame after being uploaded online in 2009 and turned into a rage comic character shortly after. Rage comics were digitally created comics popular on Reddit in the 2010’s, and the cartoon version of Cage’s face was used alongside the phrase “you don’t say” or “o rly?” as well as by itself.

Nicolas cage memes

National Treasure Memes

Even though Cage has acted in plenty of movies—he is a Coppola, after all—he’s maybe most known for starring in the National Treasure series. In National Treasure and its sequel, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Cage plays a historian who uses the Declaration of Independence to uncover secret treasure hidden in the northeast United States. 

Cage’s famous line in the movie is “I’m gonna steal the Declaration of Independence,” and the internet has meme-ified it to turn it into a joke about procrastination or being deliriously confident in oneself. 

“Me at 11:30pm: Time to hit the hay and get a good night’s sleep,” one meme reads. “Me at 2am: I’m gonna steal the Declaration of Independence.” 

“I don’t really like tequila but one shot won’t hurt,” another says. “3 hours later: I’m gonna steal the Declaration of Independence.” 

Nicolas Cage memes

And, of course, Cage was photoshopped into a photo of the January 6 insurrection to make it look like he is stealing the Declaration of Independence during the chaos. 

Nicolas Cage In Kazakhstan

In 2017, Nicolas Cage went to Kazakhstan for a film festival and posed in a photo with then-first lady Sara Nazarbayeva. In the photo, Cage is wearing traditional Kazakh dress, including a fur hat and a fur coat called a shapan. Cage looks either uncomfortable or totally spaced out, and the absurdity of the photo made it a meme.

The meme itself mostly consists of just putting that photo of Cage in other contexts, like in Star Wars movies, next to former President Donald Trump in his meme-d photo with the Pope, or with DC Comics superheroes.  

Nicolas Cage memes

Listening to music with Pedro Pascal 

The most recent Nicolas Cage meme includes another frequently meme’d celeb: Pedro Pascal. The Nicolas Cage listening to music with Pedro Pascal, or Nicolas Cage looking at Pedro Pascal meme comes from Cage’s 2022 movie, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, in which Cage plays himself. 

The meme consists of Cage looking inquisitively at Pascal while Pascal is driving, Pascal looking back at him with a big smile. The interaction has come to signify when something (or someone) comes out of nowhere, or some kind of cosmic irony. Set to Cass Elliot’s “Make Your Own Kind of Music,” the clip was very popular on TikTok in 2023, amassing hundreds of videos.

@topbanter_ answer is always no 😂 #nicholascage #pedropascal #funny #work #memes #workmemes ♬ Make Your Own Kind Of Music – Mama Cass
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*First Published: Dec 6, 2023, 3:12 pm CST