Although we know most superstars from their big breaks or their most famous roles, many of us don’t know much about their history, earlier hits, or even their indie beginnings. The following list will introduce you to some famous actors’ earlier, often forgotten works/roles that are worth watching.

Leonardo DiCaprio 

You probably know about: Nolan’s Inception, the mysterious Shutter Island, Gangs of New York featuring Daniel Day-Lewis and the beautiful Cameron Diaz, The Departed, The Wolf of Wall Street of course, and if you try to think of his earlier roles, you’ll probably come up with Titanic.

You should check out:  The Beach (2000). Mystery is the main theme of an island young Richard finds on a map. Directed by Danny Boyle, this one is more…chill and adventurous. The movie also featured Moby’s hit Porcelain in the background.

Al Pacino

You probably know about: F.F. Coppola’s The Godfather, in addition to his roles as psychotic Tony Montana in Scarface, the hard-working miserable Lt. Vincent in Heat (featuring Robert De Niro), and Coach Tony in Any Given Sunday with Jamie Foxx.

You should check out: Serpico (1973). Is there anything better than watching Al Pacino working undercover in a hippie outfit? I have to say, Pacino’s style in this one is unique and unmatchable. Based on a true story, Serpico revolves around an honest cop who reveals corruption in the police force, which puts his life in danger.

Another candidate is Dog Day Afternoon (1975). A man turns into a public hero as he robs a bank to pay for his lover’s operation. Young Pacino with an angry attitude and an Italian accent.

 – Nicolas Cage

You probably know about: The weirdly depressing Adaptation, The Rock (directed by action master Michael Bay and featuring Sean Connery), Kick-Ass, the adventure National Treasure, Face/Off with John Travolta, and his very best in my opinion, Lord of War.

You should check out: Raising Arizona (1987), an epic comedy featuring Holly Hunter and John Goodman. Directed by the awesome Coen Brothers, the film is the story of a couple that kidnaps the son of a wealthy man because they can’t have their own. It gets competitive when a bounty is offered for finding the kid. The opening scene alone makes the film worth watching.

Daniel Day-Lewis

You probably know about: Gangs of New York as mentioned above, the epic two-time Academy Award-winning drama There Will Be Blood, and the recent Spielberg Academy Award-winning Lincoln.

You should check out: In the Name of the Father (1993). Nominated for seven Oscars, the film is the story of a struggling young Scottish man who gets involved in a bombing he had nothing to do with during the war, which lands his father in prison. They fight his way out with the help of a British lawyer after spending 40 years in prison.

Christian Bale

You probably know about: Nolan’s recreation of Batman in The Dark Knight, The Fighter (featuring Mark Wahlberg), American Psycho, Equilibrium, and 3:10 to Yuma (featuring Russell Crowe).

You should check out: Empire of the Sun (1987), a Spielberg war/drama epic. The film features a young Bale portraying a child’s struggle during the Japanese occupation of WWII after losing his mother. A truly mesmerizing journey.

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