National Treasure
Movie national treasure
Theatrical release poster
Film information

Directed by

Jon Turteltaub

Release Date(s)

November 19, 2004



Followed by

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

National Treasure is a 2004 American adventure heist film from the Walt Disney Studios under Walt Disney Pictures. It was written by Jim Kouf, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Cormac Wibberley, and Marianne Wibberley, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and directed by Jon Turteltaub. It is the first film in the National Treasure franchise and stars Nicolas Cage.


Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage) is a historian and amateur cryptologist, and the youngest descendant of a long line of treasure hunters. Though Ben's father, Patrick Henry Gates, tries to discourage Ben from following in the family line, as he had spent over 20 years looking for the national treasure, attracting ridicule on the family name, young Ben is encouraged onward by a clue, "The secret lies with Charlotte", from his grandfather John Adams Gates in 1974, that could lead to the fabled national treasure hidden by the Founding Fathers of the United States and Freemasons during the American Revolutionary War that was entrusted to his family by Charles Carroll of Carrollton in 1832 before his death to find, and protect the family name.

In the present, with an expedition funded and led by Ian Howe, Ben and his friend, a computer expert, Riley Poole track down a Colonial ship that is trapped in Arctic ice, the Charlotte. Aboard the ship they discover a meerschaum pipe engraved with a Knights Templar riddle that Ben connects to an invisible map written by Timothy Matlack on the back of the Declaration of Independence. When Ian reveals he will go to any lengths to find this treasure including stealing the Declaration, Ben takes a stand against him. A fight ensues, during which spilled gunpowder is ignited. Ian escapes the ship, leaving it to explode before departing with his team. Ben and Riley are trapped inside but survive the explosion by hiding in a smugglers hold, and return to the United States determined to stop Ian.

When Ben and Riley try to tell various authorities, including the FBI, and Dr. Abigail Chase at the National Archives, they dismiss their claims, considering the Declaration impossible to steal. Ben and Riley concoct their own plan to steal the Declaration during a gala event, and execute it just before Ian and his own team arrive. Abigail, suspicious of Ben's presence at the gala, becomes caught up with Ben and Riley as they escape from Ian and the authorities. Ben's identity is tracked to the theft, and they are forced to go to his father's home, much to Patrick's surprise and dismay. Ben and Abigail find an Ottendorf cipher on the back of the Declaration which, using the riddle on the pipe from the Charlotte, they connect to the Silence Dogood letters, written by Benjamin Franklin, at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Decoding the message, it points to where the Liberty Bell was, they then head to the top of Independence Hall at a specific time 2:22 where the trio find a pair of spectacles with multiple colored lenses invented by Franklin that reveal additional clues on the back of the Declaration, "Heere at the Wall." The group is caught by Ian, and even though they split up, Riley and Abigail and the Declaration are caught by Ian, while Agent Peter Sadusky captures Ben, still with the glasses.

Ian, under the guise of a prisoner exchange, lures the FBI into a trap aboard the USS Intrepid, allowing them to grab Ben. Holding Riley, Abigail, and Patrick hostage, Ian forces Ben to use the bifocals and find the next clue, which leads the group to Trinity Church in New York City. Beneath the church through a secret tunnel behind the coffin of Parkington Lane they find an enormous shaft with an elevator system. When walking down the stairs the shaft began to collapse a little but manage somehow. At the bottom of the shaft, they find a room lit only by a lantern, which Ben and Patrick trick Ian into thinking that it refers to Paul Revere's Ride, and indicates the treasure to be at the Old North Church in Boston. Ian and his men strand Ben, Riley, Abigail, and Patrick as they ascend to the surface, unaware that Ben has purposely tricked them. Ben pushes a button of the unfinished pyramid the all-seeing eye on the wall and opens a secret door to an empty room. Patrick apologizes to Ben and admits himself that the treasure is real. Ben believes there’s another way out to the surface and kept searching then found a strange keyhole and uses the pipe from the Charlotte to open yet another secret door to reveal the vast treasure trove, for which he has been searching his entire life, as well as a route to the surface.

When the four ascend back to the church, Ben calls in Agent Sadusky, who reveals he is part of the Freemasons. Ben and Sadusky arrange a deal: with the safe return of the Declaration and identifying where Ian and his men can be found, Sadusky will clear all of their names; the treasure will be distributed among museums throughout the world, and the Gates family will receive credit for the discovery. Ian is captured by the FBI at the Old North Church and charged with kidnapping, attempted murder, and trespassing on government property.

The film ends showing that Ben chose to accept from the US government only a 1% finder's fee for himself and his team. That is still enough to make him and his friends quite wealthy, given that Ben's estimated value of the find is US $10,000,000,000. In addition, Ben has begun a romantic relationship with Abigail and bought a mansion they will be living in, and Riley bought himself a Ferrari.



National Treasure
Trevor Rabin
Released November 16, 2004
Recorded 2004
Label Hollywood
Produced by Trevor Rabin

Track ListingEdit

All songs written and composed by Trevor Rabin
No. Title Length
1. "National Treasure Suite"   3:17
2. "Ben"   4:03
3. "Finding Charlotte"   1:04
4. "Library of Congress"   2:27
5. "Preparation Montage"   4:53
6. "Arrival at National Archives"   1:54
7. "The Chase"   4:22
8. "Declaration of Independence"    
9. "Foot Chase"   3:34
10. "Spectacle Discovery"   3:18
11. "Interrogation"   4:30
12. "Treasure"   3:39


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