|Jon Turteltaub Director||previously directed The Kid|
Ben Gates is on the hunt for treasure. National treasure.
Originally going to be put out as a Touchstone film but after receiving a PG rating the movie then was put out under Disney, to appeal more towards families.2 More Trivia
4 More Quotes
It's surrounded by guards and video monitors and little families from Iowa and little kids on their eighth grade field trips.
|Nicolas Cage||Ben Gates|
|Diane Kruger||Abigail Chase|
|Justin Bartha||Riley Poole|
|Sean Bean||Ian Howe|
|Jon Voight||Patrick Gates|
|Christopher Plummer||John Adams Gates|
|David Dayan Fisher||Shaw|
|See Full Credits|
A 2004 film following Ben Gates, played by Nicolas Cage, whose family are known historic treasure hunters who most think are myths and legends. Gates follows his heart and continues to hunt the ancient Templar treasure supposedly was hidden by freemasons in America so the British Empire doesn't get its hand on the immense wealth.
The film was directed by Jon Turteltaub, with some uncredited help from Jerry Bruckheimer, and garnered mostly mixed reviews celebrated for its fun feel throughout but lampooned for a lackluster script and acting.
Ben Gates, played by Nicolas Cage, is a treasure hunter and not just any treasure will do, he and his family have been after a legendary treasure. The story, passed down for years within the Gates family, tells about an ailing president who hands off the starting clue to a series of clues that would supposedly lead to an immense treasure. The treasure came from the Templars, who have collected gold from many nations around the world and would protect it so no one man or nation could control it. Eventually the Templars would be hunted down but a new secret society, the Freemasons, would take guard of the treasure.
Gates has a new expedition funded by a friend Ian Howe, played by Sean Bean, along with his assistant Riley Poole, played by Justin Bartha. They are looking for a long lost ship called the Charlotte somewhere in the arctic. Summarizing that after sinking the ship was carried by the shifting ice caps to a certain spot actually finds the ship he, and his family, has long been looking for. As Howe and Gates search the ship they find the barrels inside not filled with gold and treasure but instead gunpowder. Gates spots the captain guarding a specific barrel and cracks it open, and buried inside the powder is a pipe.
Despite revealing another clue Howe isn't happy about the findings, he assumed that the Charlotte would be the treasures location, not another clue to elongate the goose chase. Once Howe learns that the pipe suggests the treasure map may be on the back of the Declaration of Independence he assumes there is only one way, to steal it. Gates staunchly refuses and the division turns into an argument with guns pointed and the spilled gun powder lit on fire. Howe and his men run to the easy escape out the ship to watch the ship explode.
Gates and Riley survive by hiding in a smuggler's hold and now must beat Howe to the punch and find the treasure before he can. When Gates and Riley try to warn the various departments of the government they practically get laughed out of every meeting. With a last effort they talk to Dr. Abigail Chase, played by Diane Kruger, who works at restoring old documents like the Declaration at the National Archives. She explains how impossible it would be to steal the Declaration at that its completely safe from Howe and his men.
With no other alternative Gates now knows what he must do, he has to steal the Declaration in order to keep it truly safe from Howe, as well as keeping the treasure safe. They choose a night in which the archives are celebrating so that the majority of the guards will be focused on the party's guests. Gates sneaks in while Riley provides computer and tech support from outside in a van. Gates is able to walk right out of the building with the Declaration, a few steps ahead of Howe and his team who do try to shoot at him, and with a decoy which he hands off to Abigail right before trying to escape.
Unfortunately Howe spots the hand off and assume Abigail now has the Declaration and kidnaps her. Gates chases after rescuing Abigail and letting Howe have the fake souvenir document. Even after a refusal from Abigail not to leave the document no matter what to ensure nothing bad happens to it, Gates and Riley can't return to his apartment where he had prepared to properly handle the document in order to read the possible treasure map on the back.
They are forced to go to Gates' father's home. Patrick Gates, Ben's father and played by Jon Voight, has never seen eye to eye with Ben and has for years assumed that the treasure never exsisted in America but instead was a series of clues designed to distract the British during the American Revolution. At his father's house are able to examine the back of the Declaration and find the invisible ink there which is a cypher, which needs a key in order to understand.
With his dad agreeing to make their entry into his home look forced so that he won't be in any trouble with the chasing FBI. Gates, Riley, and Abigail head to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia looking for the Silence Dogood letters. The letters are a series written by a young Benjamin Franklin under the monicker of Silence Dogood, a widowed woman, in order to have them published by the newspaper his older brother worked for. Specific letters in the letters decode the cypher on the back of the Declaration which leads the group to Independence Hall.
At the hall they unfurl the Declaration and use bifocals invented and hidden in the building to examine the back again. This leads to another clue but there isn't much time to ruminate as they are discovered by Howe and his men again. Abigail and Riley split from Gates in hopes of confusing and misleading Howe. Unfortunately the Declaration ends up in Howe's hands and Gates is captured by pursuing FBI agent Sadusky, played by Harvey Keitel.
Howe speaks with the FBI and the captured Gates offering them the Declaration. In New York, Howe is able to trick the FBI and rescue Gates. But just as it seems that Abigail and Riley have orchestrated Howe into a corner, Howe reveals that he has taken Gates' father and now the entire group are taken to Trinity Church. Beneath the church they all find an elaborate and old elevator system which goes deep underground.
At the very bottom they only find a small chamber lit by one lamp, Howe gets angry asking Gates what the lantern means. Gates claims he doesn't know, leading Howe to threaten to kill Abigail. Finally both Patrick and Gates admit they do know, the one lantern refers to the Old North Church in Boston and Paul Revere's ride in which one or two lanterns would be put in the church's window if the British were invading my land or by sea. Howe leaves Abigail, Riley, Patrick, and Gates down in the chamber for insurance and takes his men to Boston.
Just as Howe leaves Abigail demands to know what's going on, she knows that the one lantern didn't represent Paul Revere's ride because two lamps were hung in the Old North Church that night. Ben knows there is another door and uses the pipe he found on the Charlotte to open the secret door. Behind the door is another empty room, supposedly the treasure room. Gates is dejected, having come so far and to find nothing but he and his father find solace that there really was a treasure, and not a series of endless clues.
Riley grows weary realizing that they are still trapped under ground with know way out. Gates says there must be an escape shaft, something the workers would have dug in case of a cave in somewhere else within the mine. While looking for the escape route Gates discovers the real treasure room. Within they find miles of treasure both of wealth and of historic value. As they climb out of the treasure room in the escape shaft they are met by Sadusky.
Sadusky is now revealed to be a member of the Freemasons himself, knowing that the treasure is meant to be protected and not worthy for just one man. So Gates and Sadusky come to a deal, returning the Declaration, and spreading the vast treasure among the great museums of the world. But Sadusky knows that someone must be blamed for the theft and Gates leads him to the Old North Church, where Howe and his goons are attempting to break in.
With Howe in jail and the treasure discovered Riley, Abigail, and Gates all go on with their lives, with a 1% finders fee for the treasure, which amounts to about $10 million.
Generally received mixed reviews touting the fun atmosphere and feeling the movie gave but also said to have poor dialogue and writing with muddled acting overall. Despite the mostly mixed reviews the film made triple its budget and received one sequel creating a new franchise.