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Face Transplant Movies: The Good, The Bad, and the Silly (Video)

Face/Off Still - H 2011
"Face/Off"

Hollywood has long toyed with the idea of the life-altering surgery.

Hollywood toyed with the idea of face transplants long before Charla Nash's new look was revealed publicly on Thursday. Nash, who was mauled by a chimpanzee in 2009, had the surgery in May but before that -- and the first face transplant in 2005 -- movies such as John Woo's Face/Off and the 1991 Tom Berenger thriller Shattered addressed the issue.

Nash says she will eventually be able to do things she "once took for granted" such as eat normally and smell once she's fully recovered; in cinema, similar procedures are usually done quickly and for nefarious reasons.

SPOILER ALERT: The five face transplant movies below usually involve a plot twist related to the surgery.

FACE/OFF

There isn't just one, but two (!) face transplants in John Woo's 1997 film. In order to find out important info, John Travolta's FBI agent takes Nicolas Cage's face when Cage's character is knocked unconscious. But when Cage's bad guy wakes up, he forces doctors to give him Travolta's face, thereby causing double the trouble. The plot is summed up on video below.

MINORITY REPORT

The joke when Steven Spielberg's 2002 sci-fi came out was that the only way for Tom Cruise to be ugly was for him to medically alter his face, as his character does in the movie to avoid being recognized by face scanners. Cruise made Minority Report right after Vanilla Sky, another film that messes with the actor's famous face.

THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS

No operating room needed for this face transplant: Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter performs the procedure himself in order to escape from captivity. The scene is described in song below:

SHATTERED

Tom Berenger's face is reconstructed as someone else's after he's disfigured in a car accident in this 1991 film by Wolfgang Petersen. His character suffers from amnesia and the thriller's twist ending was both loved and hated. Roger Ebert called it "inconceivably implausible."

THE TOURIST

An American tourist played by Johnny Depp is mistaken for a white-collar criminal because he's spending time in Venice with Angelina Jolie's well-dressed Brit. She feels sorry for tangling him up with her deadly associates and stands up to a Russian mobster alone. A major plot twist occurs towards the end of the movie involving reconstructive surgery.