National Treasure (franchise)

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Promotional poster for the first film, National Treasure (2004)

National Treasure is a series of theatrical adventure mystery films distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and starring Nicolas Cage as Benjamin Gates, a treasure hunter who, with the help of his father, Patrick Henry Gates (Jon Voight), his girlfriend, Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger) and his loyal sidekick, Riley Poole (Justin Bartha), uncovers hidden troves and secrets from America's past. Additionally there are a series of novels detailing the ancestors of Ben Gates, all written by Catherine Hapka.


National Treasure (2004)[edit]

The original National Treasure film centers on the Gates family legend of a fantastic treasure trove of artifacts and gold, hidden by the Founding Fathers of the United States, and the attempts by the scion of the family, Benjamin Franklin Gates, to find the treasure before his ex-friend, Ian Howe (Sean Bean), steals and destroys the Declaration of Independence.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)[edit]

In the sequel to the original 2004 film, black market dealer Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris) locates one of the 18 missing pages of John Wilkes Booth's diary, and suggests that Ben's ancestor, Thomas Gates, was a conspirator in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, so Ben sets out to prove his innocence by kidnapping the current US President (Bruce Greenwood) and by finding the disappeared hidden truth.

National Treasure 3[edit]

In December 2007, before the second film was released, Nicolas Cage showed interest in doing a third film, believing it should be more international.[1] In early 2008, Disney registered the domains for and (both sites are now unregistered and the second link redirects).[2] In May 2008, Director Jon Turteltaub said that the filmmaking team would take its time on another National Treasure sequel.[3] In September 2008, Jerry Bruckheimer officially confirmed that they were in the process of developing a third film.[4] In November 2008, Bruckheimer said that the writers were in the process of writing the script to the film.[5]

In May 2010, Bruckheimer said that the first draft of the screenplay was completed.[6] In a February 2012 interview with Nicolas Cage, Cage stated: "...I have not heard any news about a third one at this time, and it would be interesting to take National Treasure into South America."[7] In a May 2013 interview with Justin Bartha, Bartha stated that a third installment was still a possibility and that scripts have been written.[8] In another interview in April 2014 with Bruckheimer he stated that the first act of National Treasure 3 was complete and "exciting".[9][10]


There was no novelization of the first movie, but a novelization of the second entitled National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets The Junior Novel was released on November 6, 2007.[11] Parts of the story in the novel version differ slightly from what was actually filmed, owing to changes being made in the screenplay prior to and during production. For example, in the novel, Ben and Abigail photograph the wooden plank found hidden in the Queen's desk and leave it behind, with the car chase following, but in the movie, they take the plank with them on the chase. Also, the date on the statue in Paris, which is also the combination to access the plank is shown as 1865 rather than 1876.

Gates Family Mystery[edit]

Disney Press has also published a series of spin-off historical novels about ancestors of the Gates Family, all by Catherine Hapka.

#TitleReleasedTime periodPlot summary
1Changing TidesNovember 6, 20071612The epilogue from Changing Tides is included at the back of the National Treasure book.[12] Samuel Gates and his brother, William, travel to the Americas and the newly organized Jamestown, hoping to find a fortune and rescue their family name.
2Midnight RideMarch 8, 20081773–1775At the onset of the Revolutionary War in Boston in 1775, John Raleigh Gates follows the clues to find an incredible treasure.[13]
3UnchartedAugust 26, 20081803After the American Revolutionary War, Adam Benjamin Gates and his twin sister, Eleanor or Ellie, have heard their father's tales of his part in the Revolutionary War and his discovery of a great treasure that helped the Patriots. Soon, Adam and Ellie find themselves on a dangerous journey into uncharted lands in search of a treasure hidden deep within the wilderness.[14]
4Westward BoundDecember 23, 20081848–1849Thomas Gates is convinced that the treasure is located with someone or in something called the Charlotte. However, his youngest brother James Monroe Gates wants a treasure that is easier to get to. In 1848, while helping a friend on the run from her father, he reluctantly follows a series of letters his aunt, Eleanor, sent to his father, believing it leads to a treasure that is bigger than the gold of California.[15]
5Forever FreeWas to be released on April 28, 2009, never released1872After the death of his father, Charles Gates considers running away from his family's past of treasure hunting. However, when he befriends a freed slave named Daniel, they set off to uncover what civil rights leaders fought to protect. It was never released to the public and is not available for reading.[16]
6Roaring InWas to be released on August 25, 2009, never released1920sJay Gates wishes to remain in peace and quiet, despite the economic boom of the 1920s. However, he soon learns of hints in regards to the Charlotte, for which his family had been searching for almost a century, and decides to seek adventure. It was never released to the public and is not available for reading.[17]


National TreasureNational Treasure: Book of Secrets
Benjamin Franklin "Ben" GatesNicolas Cage
Riley PooleJustin Bartha
Dr. Abigail ChaseDiane Kruger
Patrick Henry GatesJon Voight
Agent Peter SaduskyHarvey Keitel
Agent HendricksArmando Riesco
Ian HoweSean Bean 
Thomas GatesJason EarlesJoel Gretsch
John Adams GatesChristopher Plummer 
Dr. Emily Appleton Helen Mirren
Mitch Wilkinson Ed Harris

Gates Family Tree[edit]

The tree below shows the Gates family, including Ben's ancestors mentioned in the series of novels based on the movies, Changing Tides, Midnight Ride, and Uncharted. A detailed family tree is presented in the novel, Uncharted. Benjamin Franklin Gates' direct line is in bold.

Benjamin Gates
Alice Gates
John Martin
Mary Willis
William Gates
Samuel Thomas Gates
Elizabeth Martin
George Gates
Maureen Burns
Alice Gates
Benjamin Gates
Elizabeth White
John Gates
Victoria Wall
Seamus Gates
John Patrick Gates
Alice Porter
Edward James Gates
Mary Dunleavy
Martha Gates
Charlotte Sweeny
Thomas Samuel Gates
Constance White
Mary Gates
Elizabeth Gates
Sarah Gates
Alice Gates
Mercy Gates
Humility Gates
Duncan Gates
John Raleigh Gates
May Dunrick
Millicent Dunrick
George Gates
Adam Benjamin Gates
Eleanor "Ellie" Gates
Mr. Darby
Timothy Gates
Hallowell Gates
b. 1791
William "Will" Gates
Eleanor "El" Gates
Thomas Gates
d. 1865
William "Will" Gates
Samuel "Sam" Gates
James Monroe Gates
b. 1824
Charles Carroll Gates
b. 1856
John Adams Gates
Patrick Henry Gates
Emily Appleton
Benjamin "Ben" Franklin Gates
b. 1964

Awards and nominations[edit]

The following is a table listing the awards and nominations received by National Treasure[18] and National Treasure: Book of Secrets.[19]

YearAssociationAward CategoryNotesResult
National Treasure
2005BMI Film & TV AwardsBMI Film Music AwardBMI Film Music Award for Trevor RabinWon
2005Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USASaturn Award for Best Action/Adventure/Thriller FilmNominated
2005Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USASaturn Award for Best Supporting ActressDiane KrugerNominated
2005Teen Choice AwardsMovie: Action/AdventureNominated
2005Visual Effects Society AwardsOutstanding Models and Miniatures in a Motion PictureMatthew Gratzner, Forest Fischer, Scott Beverly,
and Leigh-Alexandra Jacob, for the treasure room
2005World Stunt AwardsTaurus Award for Best Overall Stunt by a Stunt WomanLisa HoyleNominated
2005Young Artist AwardsBest Family Feature Film: DramaNominated
2005Young Artist AwardsBest Performance in a Feature Film, Supporting Young ActorHunter GomezNominated
National Treasure: Book of Secrets
2007Academy of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy FilmBest Supporting ActressHelen MirrenNominated
2008Golden Trailer AwardsBest Motion/Title GraphicsNominated
2008MTV Movie AwardsBest MovieNominated
2008Razzie AwardsWorst ActorNicolas CageNominated
2008Razzie AwardsWorst Supporting ActorJon VoightNominated
2008Teen Choice AwardsChoice Movie Actress: Action AdventureDiane KrugerNominated


External links[edit]