The 2004 action/adventure film National Treasure is perfect for anyone who loves following clues, with mercenary treasure hunters hot on their trails. Good thing there are plenty of other best movies like National Treasure, so you can have your fill of some more treasure hunt-themed entertainment.
Starring Nicholas Cage and Dian Kruger, National Treasure follows the story of Benjamin Franklin Gates, who comes from a long line of treasure hunters. His forefathers have long been on the search for a war chest said to be hidden by the Founding Fathers during the Revolutionary War.
The clues eventually lead him and his partner Riley (Justin Bartha) to the Declaration of Independence, where they get entangled with Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger), the curator of the archives where he’s stealing the historical document from.
With a group of mercenaries hot on their tail, a classic cat and mouse chase ensues, with a reluctant Dr. Chase suddenly becoming an accomplice. It’s such an enthralling pursuit of the treasure from start to finish, that it earned two more sequel movies to round up the franchise.
Here are some more action/adventure films you might want to check out once you’ve finished all three National Treasure titles.
1. Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
English 1h 55m IMDb
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman
Indiana Jones is a renowned archaeologist hired by the US government to fulfill a top-secret mission to find the Ark of Covenant.
Time is of the essence because equally driven Nazis are also on the hunt for the same artifact. According to legend, it holds immense power, and so for it to fall into the wrong hands could mean disaster for the world.
Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark instantly became a classic, thanks to its exciting, action-filled stunts and astounding visual effects. A definite must-see for anyone who can’t resist a good combination of good ol’ treasure hunt action, wit, and humor.
The Indiana Jones franchise has a total of five films in it, so there’s plenty for you to check out, in case you can’t get enough of this action/adventure theme.
The most recent iteration of the franchise from 2008 brings back the original Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), this time teamed up with a much younger partner, Mutt Williams (Shia LeBouf) in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
2. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
English 1h 40m IMDb
Director: Simon West
Stars: Angelina Jolie, Jon VoightIain Glen
Starring Angelia Jolie as the iconic video game character heiress Lara Croft, this action/adventure film of the same name brings the blockbuster PlayStation franchise to the big screen to massive success.
In search of answers to the disappearance of her father, Lara leaves the comforts of her mansion to follow clues all the way around the world. Running against time, she must stay sharp and on her toes, especially when nobody she trusts seems to be worthy of it.
With quick wit, physical strength, and proficient skills in fighting and handling various weaponry, she proves why this one-woman team is enough for her to successfully complete her mission.
Angelina Jolie was spectacular in her portrayal, particularly in the action stunts and sequences. Lara Croft is a strong, courageous woman, and Jolie perfectly embodied her in this role.
Adding another interesting point to the production was the fact that her father in the film, Lord Richard Croft, was actually played by her real-life father, John Voight. The movie was such a strong hit, building an entire movie franchise out of it was simply a no-brainer.
3. The Mummy (1999)
English 2h 4m IMDb
Director: Stephen Sommers
Stars: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah
Ancient treasures, adventurous exploits in the deserts, and cursed Egyptian mummies rising back from the dead? Now that’s sure to be a treasure hunt unlike any other.
Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) is a smooth-talking maverick of a treasure hunter sought out by English librarian Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) to help with a very important archaeological dig at the ancient city of Hamunaputra.
Completing their crew is her brother Jonathan (John Hannah), who constantly finds himself in way more adventures than they actually need on the trip.
Beset by challenges and obstacles, particularly a race against another group of diggers harboring much more sinister plans for the treasure hunt, Rick, Eve, and Jonathan must stick together in order to survive not only the harsh deserts, but also the ancient evil threatening to unleash its powers.
The Mummy earned massive success at the box-office around the globe, which eventually led to a much-awaited sequel in 2001, The Mummy Returns.
4. Uncharted (2022)
English 1h 56m IMDb
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Stars: Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Antonio Banderas
Uncharted, starring Tom Holland as Nathan Drake and Mark Wahlberg as Victor “Sully” Sullivan, is another film adaptation of the hit video game franchise of the same name. Here, the smart-talking duo of Drake and Sullivan takes audiences on a global hunt for a massive fortune stashed away by Ferdinand Magellan over 500 years ago.
There’s a lot at stake for them–as much as $5 billion, in fact. Now, if only they can get to it before Santiago Moncado (Antonio Banderas) does. He is just as eager to find this treasure, fully believing that they are, after all, the rightful heirs.
Uncharted the movie is a good example of how film adaptations of original video game franchises can turn out just as good, and with enough personality of their own, given the right actors and storyline.
5. The Da Vinci Code (2006)
2h 29m English IMDb
Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Jean Reno
With murder at the Louvre, Professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) finds himself embroiled in an international hunt for secret treasures beyond his wildest imaginations.
Suspected by the Parisian police as the main suspect, after his name was found on the crime scene itself, he must now work with local cop Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou), who is far more invested in the case than she is letting on, if he wants to clear his name–and solve the mystery.
The Da Vinci Code takes viewers on an exciting trip across Europe, from Paris to the Vatican, with fast-moving action, both on land and on air. This film adaptation of Dan Brown’s controversial best-selling novel easily became one of the most successful modern-day treasure hunt stories.
6. The Lost City of Z (2016)
English 2h 21m IMDb
Director: James Gray
Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller
Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) is a British explorer who stumbles upon evidence of an advanced civilization lying in quiet, deep within the Amazon forest. Scorned by his peers and desperate to prove his claim, he returns to the site over and over in order to reclaim the reputation for his name. He disappeared in 1925.
This adventurous biopic on Fawcett gives an interesting look at the events believed to have transpired in the mid-20th century.
7. The Goonies (1985)
English 1h 54m IMDb
Director: Richard Donner
Stars: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen
Steven Spielberg’s 1985 classic hit The Goonies follows the story of youngsters who discover an ancient map in an attic. Eager to find out if it will lead to unbelievable pirate treasures, they set off on a wild adventure they could have never imagined in their young lives.
The young gang of misfits soon find themselves seemingly trapped within an extensive network of underground caves and tunnels underneath an unassuming, abandoned restaurant. As if that wasn’t bad enough, these tunnels were actually filled with booby traps set up by the pirate called One-Eyed Willy, who is said to be the owner of the map they now hold in their hands.
With other parties interested in claiming the treasure for themselves, the goonies must work fast together if they ever want to survive this adventure together.
Propelled by strong characters, The Goonies is a delightful action/adventure film to watch. The music used also helped a lot in setting the mood, raising the tension, and moving the pace along as needed.
8. Sherlock Holmes (2009)
English 2h 8m IMDb
Director: Guy Ritchie
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams
Robert Downey, Jr. plays the classic novel character Sherlock Holmes, along with Jude Law as the eponymous Dr. John Watson.
Directed by Guy Ritchie, this 2009 live-action adaptation follows this iconic duo as they try to solve the mystery of an ongoing killing spree, which they believe to be the work of serial killer Lord Blackwood–who is supposedly dead already, by the way.
Downey, Jr. and Law’s chemistry worked very well together, lending credibility to the on-screen tandem of Holmes and Watson. Nailing this mark is especially crucial to the success of the film, because their partnership is at the core of the pace of the story.
9. The Saint (1997)
English 1h 56m IMDb
Director: Phillip Noyce
Stars: Val Kilmer, Elisabeth Shue, Rade Serbedzija
Val Kilmer plays Simon Templar, an enigmatic thief who was hired to steal the secret formula for cold fusion. In the midst of his mission, he becomes enmeshed with Dr. Emma Russell (Elisabeth Shue) who holds a lot more information than she might be letting on.
Torn between fulfilling his mission or saving the doctor that he’s fallen in love with, Templar must make a plan to pull off the biggest heist he’s ever made yet, or risk losing both his mission and the doctor.
The Saint is one of the most gripping spy/heist action flicks that will have you leaning on the edge of your seat as you’re taken for a spin on an adventure around the globe.
10. Romancing the Stone (1984)
English 1h 46m IMDb
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito
Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) is a romance novelist thrust into action she’s largely ill-prepared for, but must carry out if she wants to successfully rescue her kidnapped sister in Colombia.
What was supposed to be a straightforward transaction suddenly turns into even bigger complications, as she becomes involved in a dangerous treasure hunt instead.
Michael Douglas plays Jack Colton, a rogue mercenary who teams up with Wilder for this unforgettable cat-and-mouse adventure of a lifetime deep within the jungles.
Having lived her entire life creating romance stories out of her imagination, she now gets to live out a true-to-life romance adventure she could possibly not have written in a novel, no matter how much she wanted to.
11. The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
English 1h 47m IMDb
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Jamie Bell(voice), Andy Serkis(voice), Daniel Craig(voice)
The Adventures of Tintin is a full-length animated adaptation of the classic adventure comic series of the same title. Tintin and Captain Haddock go off on an adventure to seek treasure on a sunken ship.
As legends would have it, this ship was actually commanded by the Captain’s ancestor, making this more of a quest for a family legacy than a random treasure hunt.
From Tintin to Captain Haddock, and even to the loyal dog Snowy, the animation successfully brings the beloved comic cartoons to animated life. Fans of the cartoon franchise would surely appreciate the film’s efforts.
12. City of Gold (2018)
English 1h 43m IMDb
Director: Harry Locke IV
Stars: Christopher Atkins, Vernon Wells, Riley Dandy
The city of El Dorado is everything a serious treasure hunter could ever ask for. Surrounded by mythical tales and legends of dangerous adventures, many have tried and failed to find its actual location. Until one day, it does get found.
With his life in disarray following his father’s demise, media magnate Jonathan Davenport tags along with his ex-lover, Elisabeth Carlisle (Riley Dandy) to a trip deep within the Amazon.
Determined to find a very elusive artist, Elisabeth and Jonathan go deeper into the forest, soon finding themselves faced with the dangers not only of the wild jungle, but also of themselves. Can Jonathan win over the very demons hiding deep down within him?
This list of action/adventure-themed films mentions just some of the many films you can check out under the genre.
There are definitely more than enough treasure-hunting films to be found, whether classics or modern productions. Feel free to explore some more and go see more films on the subject, discover more adventures of your own.