So, you loved National Treasure and you want to watch more of the same? I don’t blame you. I’ve seen the movie 5 times now and ever time it finishes I find myself wanting more.
Here are the elements I think make National Treasure such a memorable film and that I will be looking for to find similar films:
- A huge budget allowing for many epic action scenes and set pieces
- Great actors with fun chemistry
- Heroes are seeking a valuable treasure of some type
- The hunt takes characters to multiple exotic locations
- There are many interesting puzzles to solve
- Heroes must use their unique knowledge of history to solve ancient mysteries
- Fun tone – doesn’t take itself too seriously
I will start with the movies that are most like National Treasure and work my way down.
NOTE: If you want a quick list of the top 20 Movies CLICK HERE to skip to my handy comparison chart.
Movies Most Like National Treasure
National Treasure: Book Of Secrets (2007)
The first movie on the list is the sequel to National Treasure so this one’s a no brainer. The plot is a bit confusing, but it has all the same elements that made the original so much fun, so it is definitely worth a watch.
In this outing, Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) learns of his family’s implication in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth.
The only way to clear his ancestor’s name, it turns out, is to locate the legendary Native American city of gold known as Cíbola –a city long since dismissed as the stuff of imagination.
Gates must first locate an elusive diary, not only to clear his family’s name, but to unearth and connect several secrets, buried within the book, that point to a massive, global conspiracy.
A series of clues takes Ben on a high-stakes global scavenger hunt that leads from Paris to London, from Washington, D.C., to Mt. Rushmore, and from the desk of the Queen of England to the desk of the President of the United States.
The film co-stars Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, and Helen Mirren as Ben’s mother.
Based on the awesome Clive Cussler book of the same name, Sahara is about as close to National Treasure as you can get. As a matter of fact, I’m willing to bet that the writers of National Treasure were heavily influenced by Clive Cussler’s library of adventure books.
Sahara follows seasoned adventurer Dirk Pitt as he searches for a lost civil war treasure in the Sahara desert. Along the way Pitt saves a beautiful scientist from a ruthless warlord and helps uncover the source of a strange and deadly plague that’s sweeping the region.
The film was a flop at the box office losing almost 140 million dollars – but don’t let that stop you from watching it. I have to admit that I really like this film (seen it 3 times) but then again – I’m writing an article about movies like National Treasure so obviously I’m partial to these kinds of films.
Sahara was only the second of Cussler’s Dirk Pitt adventures to be adapted for the screen; the first, 1980’s Raise the Titanic, was publicly dismissed by the author. And unfortunately, with Sahara being such a financial fiasco it might be a log time before another of Clive Cusslers books hits the big screen.
Romancing the Stone (1984)
This is one of my 20 favorite films of all time. This movie has it all – it’s a fast-paced action, adventure, comedy, romance treasure hunt movie that works perfectly on all levels thanks to a brilliant script and flawless direction by Robert Zemeckis.
The movie stars Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny De Vito who all give great performances and have super-fun chemistry together.
Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) is a meek, introverted romance writer who dreams of living a life of adventure and Romance like the characters in her books.
When she receives a treasure map in the mail from her recently murdered brother-in-law she’s forced to travel to Colombia to exchange the map for her kidnapped sister.
But when her bus breaks down and she is pursued by armed thugs Joan is forced to enlist the aid of a Roguish adventures (Michael Douglas) to help her travel cross-country to Cartagena for the exchange.
She soon finds herself in the middle of an epic adventure, fleeing from villains while searching for a fabled lost treasure and simultaneously falling in love.
The Jewel of the Nile (1985)
“The Jewel of the Nile” is the disappointing sequel to Romancing the Stone. It is not a bad movie, and is worth watching (especially if you liked the first one), it’s just not quite in the same league as the original.
In this new chapter, Joan is abducted by the ruthless dictator of a North African nation.
When Jack learns that Joan is a pawn in the dictator’s quest to rule the entire Arab world, he partners with his old nemesis, Ralph (Danny DeVito) in a quest to free her.
Jack and Joan end up hot on the trail of another mythical gemstone, while rekindling their romance.
Fool’s Gold (2008)
Benjamin Finnegan (Matthew Mcconaughey) is a deep-sea treasure hunter with a new clue to the whereabouts of a sunken Spanish galleon, the Aurelia, that was lost at sea with the 1715 Treasure Fleet.
Onboard the Aurelia is a golden treasure worth millions of dollars. But to find it Finnegan is forced to team up with his ex-wife (Kate Hudson) and some other unsavory characters.
Although the film lacks any epic action sequences, it does have enough treasure hunt elements to satisfy fans of National Treasure.
Although some of the plot points are a bit on the silly side, it still manages to be an entertaining adventure with fun performances by both the leads and supporting cast. If you want silly humor, romance, beautiful locations and a bit of action, be sure to check out Fool’s Gold.
The best description I can give of Congo is from a comment I found on IMDB which states “Perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon”
From a book by Michael Crichton, this movie has so many great elements that I had to put it on the list, even though many people (and critics) hated it.
The plot is so complex that I won’t even try to do it justice. Let’s just say that Congo is a classic B-Movie done with an A cast and production value.
Congo has hidden temples, vicious albino apes, mercenaries, a brilliant scientist (with a talking ape), an ancient treasure map, a beautiful CIA operative and a crazed treasure hunter, played by Tim Curry.
Man, just thinking about it makes me feel like watching it again!
Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Eccentric pirate “Captain” Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is asked by Will Turner, a quick-witted blacksmith, to search for Elizabeth Swann, the love of his life and the governor’s daughter who has been abducted by Captain Barbossa, an evil pirate who happens to be Jack’s former ally.
However, what they do not know is that Captain Barbossa and his men are under an ancient curse, causing them to be neither alive, nor dead. Worst, Jack and Will discover that in order for them to defeat the evil pirates, a blood sacrifice must be made.
If you are wondering why there aren’t any of the Pirate’s sequels in my list it is simply because they are all so God-Awful that I would not subject my worst enemy to them!
Indiana Jones Movies
Raiders of the Lost Ark is my #1 favorite movie of all time. I grew up in Marin County (otherwise known as George Lucas country) so in high school I was somehow able to finagle my way into the cast and crew screening of this epic adventure movie and since then I’ve been a giant fan of (most of ) the series.
If you loved National Treasure, which I’m assuming you did or you wouldn’t be reading this post, then you’ve probably seen these films already. If not go watch them. I have listed them below in order of awesomeness.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
The original and best. Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is hired by government agents to locate the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis use it for world domination.
The action sequences are some of the best ever filmed and the hunt for the Lost Ark takes us on a rollicking, world-wide adventure to some very cool locations.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
This was the 3rd film in the series and a breath of fresh air after the second film, Indiana Jones and The Temple OF Doom (see below).
The Last Crusade is a great film that has all the same elements that made Raiders of the Ark such an amazing experience. But it also added a new element that kept the series fresh – we meet Indy’s father who was played brilliantly by Sean Connery.
The chemistry between Indy and his father is great fun and brings a whole new level to the series. The action scenes are epic, and the “Puzzle” elements are clever and keep the story moving forward at a brisk pace.
The film follows Indiana Jones as he sets out to rescue his father, a historian who has vanished while searching for the Holy Grail. Following clues in the old man’s notebook, Indy travels to Italy with museum curator Marcus Brody by his side.
In Venice Indy enlists the help of a beautiful academic, but they are not the only ones who are on the trail of the ancient relic, and some sinister old enemies soon come out of the woodwork.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Not a great film but it does have enough fun stuff in it to stay on the list. The action scenes are pretty epic, but the treasure hunt elements are lacking, and Kate Capshaw was horribly miscast as Indy’s love interest.
The movie was also a bit dark for my liking and felt very small as more than half the story takes place in an ancient Indian palace.
One interesting fact – Temple of Doom is actually a PREQUEL to Raiders of the Lost Ark, not a sequel, even though the movie came out 3 years after Raiders of the Lost Ark. Raiders takes place in 1936 while Temple of Doom was set one year earlier in 1935.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
To say that Kingdom of the crystal skull was a disappointment would be an understatement. After waiting nearly 20 years for a sequel Steven Spielberg decides that Indiana Jones should go searching for Aliens? No!!!!!!!
Only watch this movie if:
- After watching the other 3 films you are now a huge Indiana Jones fan and you feel your life will not be complete until you’ve seen it.
- You have watched EVERY other film on this list.
- You are a big fan of CGI ants or Shia LaBeouf trying to act like a tough guy.
Da Vinci Code Movies
The films are based on Dan Brown’s best selling book series, which sold more copies than any book since the bible.
I’m not a big fan of any of these movies, especially the last one, Inferno, but they have many of the same elements as National Treasure (epic Treasures, exotic location, age old mystery to solve) so I felt obligated to put them on the list.
Where these movies fall flat for me is the lack of action sequences. And while the puzzle solving works great in the books, I just don’t think it translate to the screen, even with Tom Hanks in the lead. Here they are in order of release.
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
Tom Hanks stars as Robert Langdon, a Harvard symbologist in Paris for a lecture when he is enlisted by police to help solve a mystery.
A murder in the Paris’ Louvre Museum and cryptic clues in some of Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous paintings lead to the discovery of a 2,000 year old religious mystery so earth shattering that it could rock the very foundations of Christianity.
Tom Hanks, usually a captivating actor, gives a lack-luster performance as Professor Langdon and director Ron Howard transforms what should be a fun treasure hunt into something inert and borderline dreary.
Angels and Demons (2009)
In my opinion Angels and Demons is by far the best of the 3 movies.
When Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon discovers the resurgence of an ancient brotherhood known as the Illuminati, he flies to Rome to warn the Vatican, the Illuminati’s most hated enemy.
Joining forces with a beautiful Italian scientist, Langdon follows a centuries-old trail of ancient symbols in the hope of preventing the Illuminati’s deadly plot against the Roman Catholic Church from coming to fruition.
Although the Angels and Demons movie was released 3 years after the Davinci Code movie – it is actually the first book in the series – so I recommend that you watch it first.
In this installment Robert Langdon follows a trail of mysterious clues tied to the great medieval poet Dante.
When Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he is forced to team up with Sienna Brooks, a beautiful doctor he hopes will help him recover his memories.
Together, they race across Europe and against the clock to stop a madman from unleashing a virus that could wipe out half of the world’s population.
Tomb Raider Movies
These live action features are inspired by the most successful interactive video-game character in history… Lara Croft.
The movies are similar to the Indian Jones films except the hero is female and they take place in modern day.
I like all of these movies, they don’t take themselves too seriously and the locations and action scenes are top notch. The new one is a bit static for my taste but it was still a lot of fun.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
Beautiful and brainy, Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) races against time and villains to recover powerful ancient artifacts. It is one woman’s fearless quest criss-crossing the globe, in an amazing attempt to save the world.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)
In this installment of Tomb Raider fearless explorer Lara Croft tries to locate Pandora’s box before criminals use it for evil.
According to myth, the box holds deadly organisms that could kill millions of people. With her old partner, Terry (Gerard Butler), Croft goes on a hunt that takes her from Europe to Asia to Africa, where pal Kosa (Djimon Hounsou) helps her.
Along the way, Croft rappels down cliffs, scuba dives and decimates many male opponents.
Tomb Raider (2018)
In this reimagined version of Tomb Raider, Lara Croft, this time played by Alicia Vikander, is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished years earlier.
Hoping to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance, Croft embarks on a perilous journey to his last-known destination – a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan.
The stakes couldn’t be higher as Lara must rely on her sharp mind, blind faith and stubborn spirit to venture into the unknown.
The Mummy Trilogy
The Mummy movies have many similar elements to National Treasure; ancient secrets to be solved, multiple epic locations, a valuable treasure to be discovered… But they also have… well… The Mummy!
The films take place in the 1920’s and 30’s and while they lack any sort of historical accuracy, it is a pleasure to see that period brought to life with such a massive budget. The recreation of ancient Egypt in the first film was probably the first really great use of computer graphics to bring a historical city to life.
As with most trilogies, the first film is by far the best and by the time you reach Tomb of the Dragon Emperer the plot and relationships have become pretty stale.
The Mummy (1999)
The Mummy is an action-packed epic about an expedition of treasure-seeking explorers in the Sahara Desert in 1925. Stumbling upon an ancient tomb, the hunters unwittingly set loose a 3,000-year-old legacy of terror, which is embodied in the vengeful reincarnation of an Egyptian priest who had been sentenced to an eternity as one of the living dead.
The Mummy Returns (2001)
The evil mummy Imhotep returns to wreak havoc as he resumes his relentless search for power and immortality. To make matters worse, another ancient evil has been unleashed, even more dangerous than Imhotep.
Only the heroic Rick O’Connell and his intrepid Egyptologist wife stand in the way of these twin terrors as they embark upon a desperate mission to save the world.
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)
Cursed by a devious sorceress, China’s ruthless Dragon Emperor (Jet Li) and his vast army lie buried in clay for millennia.
When young archaeologist Alex O’Connell is tricked into reviving the emperor, he and his famous parents must find a way to send the ghoul back to the grave before he can awaken his vast army and take over the world.
Allan Quatermain Movies
Allan Quatermain is a fictional British adventurer first introduced in H. Rider Haggard’s 1885 novel – King Solomon’s Mines.
Since then dozens of films and T.V. shows have been produced based on the character. Quatermain has been portrayed by a diverse range of actors including Sean Connery, Patrick Swayze, Richard Chamberlain, Cedric Hardwicke and Stewart Granger among others.
The quality of films range from – “Pretty Darn Good” to “God Awful!” So I have assembled my favorites below. If you want to watch any of the others – do so at your own risk!
- King Solomon’s Mines (1985)
- Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1986)
- League of Extraordinaire Gentlemen (2003)
- King Solomon’s Mines (2004) TV Mini-Series
Misc. Treasure Hunt Movies
While these films lack the round the epic world travel elements, they are great treasure hunt movies with interesting characters solving mysteries that lead to a valuable treasure.
The Last Templar (2009 )
Ok, The Last Templar is not technically a movie, it’s a 4 hour made for TV miniseries. And while it is nowhere near the same quality as Romancing the Stone or Raiders of the Lost Ark – the story is about as close to National Treasure as you can get without actually being a sequel.
The movie stars Oscar winner Mira Sorvino in an action-adventure tale about the greatest mystery of modern time.
As the journey begins, Tess Chaykin, a Manhattan archaeologist, reluctantly teams up with FBI agent Sean Daley (Scott Foley) – and the pair are drawn into a fast-paced, romantic adventure as they attempt to uncover the lost secrets of the legendary medieval Knights Templar.
The first 2 hours takes place in entirely in New York and the script (form the book by Raymond Khoury) is disjointed. But if you can hang in there until the 2nd 2 hour episode it becomes a fun international adventure.
- Into the Blue (2005)
- Armour of God (1986)
- Armour of God 2: Operation Condor (1991)
- Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
- Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)
- Three Kings (1999)
- Firewalker (1986)
- High Road to China (1983)
Mission Impossible Movies
You have probably already seen these, but I thought I should put them on the list for anyone who hasn’t. They are all great movies with amazing action sequences, but the 3 below have the most in common with National Treasure; multiple exotic locations and a fun tone.
Mission: Impossible (1996)
Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)
James Bond Movies
They’ve gotten a little too serious for my taste as of late, but some of the older Bond films were a rollicking good time. These films certainly tick off the “Exotic Locations” checkbox. An average bond film takes us to a minimum of 5 amazing locations in the course of the adventure.
One drawback of the older Bond Movies is that, while the action scenes were top notch at the time, they are a bit dated by today’s standards.
Here are the Bond films I think fans of National Treasure would most enjoy:
Dr. No (1962)
James Bond (Sean Connery) battles mysterious Dr. No, a scientific genius bent on destroying the U.S. space program. As the countdown to disaster begins, Bond must go to Jamaica, where he encounters beautiful Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress), to confront a megalomaniacal villain in his massive island headquarters.
From Russia With Love (1963)
Agent 007 (Sean Connery) is back in the second installment of the James Bond series, this time battling a secret crime organization known as SPECTRE. Russians Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya) and Kronsteen are out to snatch a decoding device known as the Lektor, using the ravishing Tatiana (Daniela Bianchi) to lure Bond into helping them.
Bond willingly travels to meet Tatiana in Istanbul, where he must rely on his wits to escape with his life in a series of deadly encounters with the enemy.
The third film in the series is Sean Connery at his best. The powerful tycoon Auric Goldfinger has initiated Operation Grand Slam, a cataclysmic scheme to raid Fort Knox and obliterate the world economy.
It features a woman painted gold and a showdown with Odd Job at Fort Knox. But that highlight of the film is Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 with machine guns, oil-sprayer, bullet-blocking shield, tire-slashers and Ejector Seat!
Led by one-eyed evil mastermind Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi), the terrorist group SPECTRE hijacks two warheads from a NATO plane and threatens widespread nuclear destruction to extort 100 million pounds.
The dashing Agent 007, James Bond (Sean Connery), is sent to recover the warheads from the heart of Largo’s lair in the Bahamas, facing underwater attacks from sharks and men alike. He must also convince the enchanting Domino (Claudine Auger), Largo’s mistress, to become a key ally.
And there’s a jet pack!
You Only Live Twice (1967)
During the Cold War, American and Russian spacecrafts go missing, leaving each superpower believing the other is to blame. As the world teeters on the brink of nuclear war, British intelligence learns that one of the crafts has landed in the Sea of Japan.
After faking his own death, secret agent James Bond (Sean Connery) is sent to investigate. In Japan, he’s aided by Tiger Tanaka (Tetsuro Tamba) and the beautiful Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi), who help him uncover a sinister global conspiracy.
Volcano, gyrocopter, ninjas – what more can you ask for!
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
In a globe-trotting assignment that has him skiing off the edges of cliffs and driving a Lotus deep underwater, British super-spy James Bond (Roger Moore) unites with sexy Russian agent Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach) to defeat a megalomaniac shipping magnate, who is threatening to destroy New York City with nuclear weapons.
Bond’s most deadly adversary on the case is Stromberg’s henchman, Jaws, a seven-foot giant with terrifying steel teeth.
Pierce Brosnan took over as Bond, Judi Dench stepped in as M, and the series was dynamically revived in this excellent thriller pitting Bond against former agent 006, Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean).
When a powerful satellite system falls into the hands of Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean), a former ally-turned-enemy, only James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) can save the world from an awesome space weapon that — in one short pulse — could destroy the earth!
As Bond squares off against his former compatriot, he also battles Trevelyan’s stunning ally, Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen), an assassin who uses pleasure as her ultimate weapon.
This one even has Sean Bean playing pretty much the same bad-guy part he played in National Treasure!
Mostly For Kids
I didn’t include any of these films in my top 20 because they are not really made for adults. While they are all great movies with some very National Treasure like elements they are kids movies plain and simple.
If you’re looking for something to watch with kids then definitely check them out.
- The Goonies (1985)
- Night At The Museum (2006)
- Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009)
- Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014)
- The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010)
- Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)
- Ready Player One (2018)
These are all classic Treasure hunt films. None of them made my list because they are all a bit dated by today’s standards. If you like classics then be sure to watch all of these.
- Mackenna’s Gold (1969)
- Secret of the Incas (1954)
- Gunga Din (1939)
- King Solomon’s Mines (1937)
- King Solomon’s Mines (1950)
- It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
- Kelly’s Heroes (1970)
TV Movies & Series Like National Treasure
- The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (2004) TV Movie
- The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines
- The Librarian III: The Curse of the Judas Chalice (2008) TV Movie
TV Series Like National Treasure
- The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992–1993)
- Tales of the Gold Monkey (1982–1983)
- Relic Hunter (1999–2002)
- Adventure Inc. (2002–2003)
20 Best Movies Most Like National Treasure
|Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom||1984||7||6|
|The Spy Who Loved Me||1977||8||6|
|Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl||2003||10||6|
|Mission: Impossible – Fallout||2018||9||6|
|The Mummy Returns||2001||7||7|
|Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life||2003||7||7|
|Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol||2011||9||6|
|The Da Vinci Code||2006||6||8|
|The Jewel of the Nile||1985||7||8|
|Angels and Demons||2009||6||8|
|Lara Croft: Tomb Raider||2001||7||7|
|Romancing the Stone||1984||9.5||9|
|Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade||1989||9.5||8|
|Raiders of the Lost Ark||1981||10||8|
|National Treasure: Book Of Secrets||2007||7.5||10|