9 things you might not know about National Treasure


National Treasure was released back in 2004, and over the last decade or so, it’s become a bit of a classic. Maybe the critics didn’t fall in love with it, but as a live-action Disney film, it’s pretty impressive. There’s plenty of action (without it being too over the top) and an adventure that’s hard not to get overly invested in. While the film may be pretty beloved, there are some things about it that a lot of people aren’t aware of. If you think you know everything there is to know about National Treasure, keep reading and test yourself.

Some of the events were factual

Many films suffer from historical inaccuracies, even if they’re based on real events (emphasis on based). Sometimes you have to stretch or alter the truth to create excitement or tension in the script. National Treasure doesn’t claim to be a real-life story, but certain elements of it were true. An example? The $100 bills that had 2:22 on the Independence Hall clock.

Nine people wrote the script

Nine! It took nine people to bring the story of Benjamin Gates to a full circle. Mystery adventure films like National Treasure aren’t always the simplest to construct, especially when you’re coming up with a fresh idea, so we can’t blame the writers for taking so long. After all, just because the story may not be factually accurate, you still need the audience to believe it.

9 things you might not know about National Treasure

Nicolas Cage likes a singalong

Nicolas Cage enjoys a bit of karaoke… Who knew? While doing a press tour, the actor revealed that karaoke was his way of letting off steam and relaxing with co-star Diane Kruger. The two of them had great chemistry on screen, and now we know it’s because they loved singing together. Who did they cover? Rage Against the Machine and AC/DC were some of Cage’s favorites, apparently.

Benjamin Franklin was a freemason

Another factually accurate piece of information in National Treasure (it’s more realistic than we thought)! The events of the film all stem back to the signing of the Declaration of the Independence which was supposedly done by members of the Freemasons… and they weren’t wrong. At least nine of the Founding Fathers who signed the genuine document belonged to the society, including Benjamin Franklin.

The director already knew Nicolas Cage

There are times when directors want certain actors to fill the roles in their film. It turns out that going into National Treasure, director Jon Turteltaub already knew Nicolas Cage, having gone to high school with the actor in the ‘70s. The two of them were even in the same drama class together, with Turteltaub beating Cage to the lead role in one of their stage productions. There were obviously no hard feelings.

Independence Hall was recreated perfectly

Unless you’re lost in the action of a film (which you ought to be) you might wonder how certain scenes are brought to life. Despite some of the real-life places that get used in films, a lot of action is done on set. When Nicolas Cage was asked to run across the roof of Independence Hall, he wasn’t expecting to do it at the actual location. No, the crew had found a perfect replica of it which had been conveniently built by Walter Knott back in the 1960s. Isn’t that handy?

The treasure map… is it real?

That’s what a lot of people have been asking, anyway. When we say a lot, we mean (hundreds of) thousands. So much so that guards at the National Archives now refer to National Treasure as “that” movie, because people won’t stop asking them if there’s really a treasure map on the back of the Declaration. If you want to know, the film shows you an entirely plausible way to break in so you can find out for yourself. Just make sure you find a technical whizz sidekick first.

9 things you might not know about National Treasure

People care about the National Archives now

While guards may be getting frustrated by all the questions they’re getting because of the film, at least attendance at the National Archives has risen. People all want to see where it happened for themselves – as is often the case with films set in real locations – and marvel at the history around them. See, watching films is good for your education.

National Treasure 3 is happening! (maybe)

You’d think that given the last film – National Treasure’s sequel, the Book of Secrets – premiered over a decade ago, there wouldn’t be another entry in the series. Well, anyone that thinks that has forgotten we’re dealing with Disney here. Nicolas Cage himself has said that a third film is happening, but that the writing process is slowing things down. Maybe they haven’t found a ninth writer to finish the script off yet.

We’re pretty excited about the possibility of another National Treasure film (even we’d given up hope it was happening), so we’re going to go and watch the first two again. You should too, now you have all this new knowledge.