National Treasure

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Stanislaw J. Lec
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National Treasure is a 2004 film that follows Benjamin Franklin Gates, a man whose family has a history of searching for a near-limitless treasure, one his father (and just about everyone else) believes is a mystery. When he finally discovers a real clue, he must protect it, the treasure, and a precious national document from his former partner.

Directed by Jon Turteltaub. Written by Jim Kouf, Oren Aviv, and Charles Segars (story); Jim Kouf, Cormac Wibberley and Marianne Wibberley (screenplay).
The greatest adventure history has ever revealed. taglines

Benjamin Franklin Gates

  • [to Abigail] You know something? You're shouting again. And it's really starting to annoy. You would do well, Dr. Chase, to be a bit more civilized in this instance.
  • [after Abigail keeps interrupting his thoughts] She really can't shut her mouth, can she? [offering her the Declaration] Look, I will let you hold this if you promise to shut up, please!
  • Of all the ideas that became the United States, there's a line here that's at the heart of all the others. "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and provide new Guards for their future security."
  • If there's something wrong, those who have the ability to take action have the responsibility to take action.
  • I'm gonna steal it. [pause] I'm gonna steal The Declaration of Independence.
  • [making a toast at a gala before going to steal the Declaration] To high treason. That's what these men were committing when they signed the Declaration. Had we lost the war, they would have been hanged, beheaded, drawn and quartered, and-Oh! Oh, my personal favorite-and had their entrails cut out and burned! [laughs nervously, then clears throat] So... Here's to the men who did what was considered wrong, in order to do what they knew was right... [nods] what they knew was right.
  • You know, Agent Sadusky, something I noticed about fishing? It never works out so well for the bait.
  • Sadusky, I'm still not against you. But I found door #3, and I'm taking it. [jumps into the Hudson River]
  • [Standing in front of the declaration] 180 years of searching and I'm 3 feet away.

Ian Howe

  • He's got the bloody map.
  • [convincing Abigail to give the document to him] Why don't you just pass me that document? Then we can all go home.
  • [after getting the fake document] Well done, Gates. Well done.
  • Leave them! Let them go. We got it.

Riley Poole

  • [talking about The Declaration of Independence] It's surrounded by guards...and video monitors... and little families from Iowa... and little kids on their eighth grade field trip. And underneath an inch of bulletproof glass is an army of sensors and heat monitors if someone gets too close with a high fever. Now, when it's not on display, it is lowered into a 4 foot thick concrete, steel-plated vault that happens to be equipped with electronic combination lock and biometric access-denial systems.
  • [hearing Abigail over Ben's wire connection] Is that that hot girl? How does she look?
  • When are we gonna get there? I'm hungry. This car smells weird.
  • Who wants to go down the creepy tunnel inside the tomb first?
  • It's a big blue-ish green man... with a strange-looking goatee... I'm guessing that's significant. [hugs the statue]
  • Look... Stairs.
  • (about Ian Howe) I hate that guy.
  • Will someone please explain to me what these magic numbers are?
  • Our evil plan is working.
  • Okay, Ben, pay attention. I've brought you to the Library of Congress. Why? Because it's the biggest library in the world. Over 20 million books. And they're all saying the same exact thing: Listen to Riley.
  • Ben, the, uh, the mean D-declaration lady is behind you.
  • [to Ben] What do you care? You got the girl.
  • (About the pipe) Is it a billion dollar pipe? (a few seconds later) Is it a million dollar pipe?
  • Either way we're still gonna die.
  • (after being told to shut up at gunpoint) Okay....
  • (Responding to one of Ian's henchmen on the Charlotte.) Albuquerque. See I can do it too. Snorkel.

Agent Sadusky

  • Door number one, you go to prison for a very long time. Door number two, we are going to get back the Declaration of Independence, you help us find it, and you still go to prison for a very long time, but you feel better inside.
  • Someone's got to go to prison, Ben.
  • You really have absolutely no understanding of a bargaining chip, do you?
  • You know, the Freemasons believed that the treasure was too great for any one man to have.
  • You're under arrest, Mr. Howe. We've got you on kidnapping, attempted murder....and trespassing on government property.

Abigail Chase

  • If you wanted to leave me behind, you shouldn't have told me where you were going.
  • [About the Meerschaum pipe] Did Bigfoot take it?
  • I am so getting fired for this.
  • I look pregnant?


  • Shaw: Ask your girlfriend. She's the one who's calling all the shots now. She won't shut up.
  • Patrick Gates: The status quo has changed, son.


Ben: Two years ago, if you hadn't shown up, hadn't believed the treasure was real, I don't know if I ever would have found Charlotte.
Ian Howe: You would have found it, I have no doubt. That's why I didn't think it was as crazy an investment as everyone said.
Ben: I'm just relieved that I'm not as crazy as everyone says. Or said my dad was. Or my granddad. Or my great-granddad.

Ian Howe: We could borrow it.
Ben: Steal it? I don't think so.
Ian Howe: Ben, the treasure of the Knights Templar is the treasure of all treasures.
Ben: Oh, I didn't know that. Really?
Ian Howe: Look, Ben... I understand your bitterness. I really do. You've spent your entire life searching for this treasure,only to have the respected historical community treat you and your family with mockery and contempt. You should be able to rub this treasure in their arrogant faces, and I want you to have the chance to do that.
Ben: How?
Ian Howe: We all have our areas of expertise. You don't think mine are limited to writing checks, do you!? In a life, I've arranged several operations of questionable legality.
Shaw: I'd take his word for it if I was you.
Ian Howe: So don't worry. I'll make all the arrangements.
Ben: No!!
Ian Howe: I could really use your help here.
Ben: Ian, I'm not going to let you steal the Declaration of Independence.
Ian Howe: Alright. From this point on, all you're going to be is a hindrance. [signals Shaw to ready gun to which Ben nervously laughs]
Riley: Hey!
Ben: What are you going to do? Are you going to shoot me, Shaw!? Well, you can't shoot me. There's more to the riddle; information you don't have, I do. I'm the only one who can solve it.
Shaw: He's bluffing.
Ben: We play poker together, Ian. You know I can't bluff.
Ian Howe: Tell me what I need, or I'll shoot your friend. [Shaw points gun at Riley]
Riley: Hey!
Ian Howe: Quiet, Riley. Your job's finished here.
[Ben lights flare, Shaw turns gun back to Ben and looks astonished along with Ian]
Ben: Look where you're standing. All that gunpowder. You shoot me, I drop this, we all go up.
Riley: Ben?!
Ian Howe What happens when the flare burns down? [Ben looks questionably] You just tell me what I need to know.
Ben: You need to know... If Shaw can catch.
[throws flare, Riley squints scared, Ian catches it before it hits gunpowder]
Ian Howe: Nice try, though. [coat sleeve catches on fire and drops flare on gunpowder]

Powell: Look... this is a waste of time. How could a ship wind up way out here?
Riley Poole: Well, I'm no expert but... it could be that the hydrothermic properties of this region produce hurricane-force ice storms that cause the ocean to freeze and then melt and then refreeze, resulting in a semisolid migrating land mass that would land a ship right around here. [walks away]

Shaw: Prison.
Riley: Albuquerque. See I can do it too. Snorkel.
Shaw: That's where the map is. Like he said, "Fifty-five in iron pen." "Iron pen" is a prison.
Ben Gates: Or it could be, since the primary writing medium of the time was iron gall ink, the "pen" is... just a pen. But then why not say a pen, why say iron pen.
Shaw: Because it's a prison.

Abigail Chase: May I see the pipe?
Riley: We don't have it.
Abigail: Did Bigfoot take it?

Abigail: You're treasure hunters, aren't you?
Ben: We're more like treasure protectors.

Riley Poole: OK Ben. Pay attention. I've brought you to the Library of Congress. Why? Because it's the biggest library in the world. Over twenty million books, and they're all saying the same exact thing: listen to Riley. What we have here is an entire layout of the Archives: sort of builder's blueprints. We've got construction manuals, phone lines, water and sewage. It's all right here. Now, when the Declaration is on display, it is surrounded by guards...and video monitors... and little families from Iowa... and little kids on their eighth grade field trip. And underneath an inch of bulletproof glass is an army of sensors and heat monitors if someone gets too close with a high fever. Now, when it's not on display, it is lowered into a 4 foot thick concrete, steel-plated vault that happens to be equipped with a electronic combination lock and biometric access-denial systems.
Ben Gates: You know, Thomas Edison tried and failed nearly 2,000 times to develop the carbonized cotton-thread filament for the incandescent light bulb.
Riley Poole: Edison?
Ben Gates: And when asked about it, he said "I didn't fail; I found out 2,000 ways how not to make a light bulb," but he only needed one way to make it work: the Preservation Room. Enjoy. Go ahead. Do you know what the preservation room is for?
Riley Poole: Delicious jams and jellies?
Ben Gates: No, that's where they clean, repair, and maintain all the documents and their storage housings when they are not on display of in the vault. Now, when the case needs work, they take it out of the vault and directly across the hall and into the Preservation Room. The best time for us or Ian to steal it would be during the gala this weekend, when the guards are distracted by the VIPs upstairs; but we'll make our way to the Preservation Room, where there is much less security.
Riley Poole: Well...uh...Ian...Preservation, hmmmm. Oh this might be possible.
Ben Gates: It might.

Riley: [after Ben decides to steal the Declaration] This is... huge. [Beat] Prison... huge. You are gonna go to prison. You know that, right?
Ben: Yeah, probably.
Riley: Well... that would... bother most people.

Riley: [speaking through headset] So, how do you look?
Ben: [looking in mirror] Not bad.
Riley: Mazel tov.

Abigail:There is not a map on the back of the Declaration of Independence!
Ben:And there's no chance that some one could steal this either! [holds up and shakes Declaration of Independence]

[Abigail is freaking out, thinking that Ian has the Declaration]
Ben: They don't have it.
[Pulls the Declaration out to show her]
Ben: See, now can you please stop shouting?
Abigail: Verdammt! Give me that!
Ben: You know something? You're shouting again.
Riley: I'm pretty sure she was swearing, too.
Ben: Well, I probably deserved that.
Abigail: Just give me the Declaration!
Ben: You're still shouting. And it's really starting to annoy. You would do well, Dr. Chase, to be a bit more civilized in this instance.
Abigail: If that's the real Declaration, what did they get?
Ben: A souvenir. I thought it might be a good idea to have a duplicate, turns out I was right. Actually, I had to pay for the real one and the duplicate, so you owe me $35, plus tax.
Riley: Genius.

[Agent Hendricks clears his throat]
Sadusky: Yes, Agent Hendricks, you've got something?
Agent Hendricks: Um...
Sadusky: This isn't a day for "Um."
Agent Hendricks: We received a tip several days ago that someone was going to steal the Declaration of Independence.
Sadusky: [nodding] Do we have a name on the tipster?
Agent Hendricks: Uh, there was no file opened. We didn't find the information credible.
Sadusky: [beat] How about now?

Abigail: You have the original Silence Dogood letters? Did you steal those too?!
Ben: I have scans of the originals. Quiet please.
Abigail: How did you get scans?
Ben: Because I know the man who has the originals, now shush.
Abigail: Why do you need them?
Ben: She really can't shut her mouth, can she?

Riley: You know, it took you all of two seconds to decide to steal The Declaration of Independence.
Ben: Yeah, but I didn't think I was going to have to personally tell my dad about it.

Ben: I'm in a little trouble.
Patrick Gates: Is she pregnant?
Ben: If she is would you leave the mother of your grandchild standing out in the cold?
Abigail: [to Riley] I look pregnant?
[He shakes his head]
Patrick Gates: Come in.

Riley: [examining the back of the Declaration] So if this things in invisible ink, how do we look at it?
Patrick Gates: Throw it in the oven.
Abigail, Ben: NO!

Patrick Gates: [lifts up the Declaration to see the front]
Ben, Abigail, Riley: NO!
Patrick Gates: [realises that it's the Declaration of Independence and goes pale] Oh my God!! You--you stole it!

Riley: [in a loud drowsy voice; dozing off] Your dad has a sweet ride.
Ben: I think we should change clothes. We look kinda conspicuous, don't you think?
Riley: [in same voice] I'd love to go shopping too but we have no money.
Ben: Here, I took this from his house. [hands Abigail a book] He usually tucks a few hundred dollars somewhere between those pages.
Abigail: 'Common Sense', how appropriate.
Riley: [in same voice] When are we gonna get there? [after a moment] I'm hungry. [after a moment] This car smells weird.

Abigail: What do you see?
Ben: 2:22.
Abigail: What time is it now?
Clothing Store Clerk: Almost 3.
Abigail: [sighs] We missed it.
Riley: No, we didn't. We didn't miss it because... you don't know this? I know something about history that you don't know.
Ben: I'd be very excited to learn about it, Riley.
Riley: Hold on one second, let me just take in this moment. [takes a deep breath] This is cool. Is this how you feel all the time? Well, except now, of course--
Abigail: Riley!
Riley: All right! What I know is that daylight savings wasn't established until World War I. If it's 3 p.m. now that means that in 1776 it would be 2 p.m.
Ben: Riley, you're a genius.
Riley: Do you actually know who the first person to come up with the idea of daylight savings time was?
Abigail, Ben: Benjamin Franklin.
[Riley stomps his foot in disappointment]

Museum Kid: Is this real?
Ian Howe: Just tell me what you told my friend.
Museum Kid: Just a bunch of letters. I can't remember.
Ian Howe: Can you remember which ones you were gonna tell him next?
Museum Kid: Yeah, here. S-T-O-W.

[Abigail is hiding from Shaw behind a meat counter]
Butcher Lady: If you're not a steak, you don't belong here.
Abigail: I'm just trying to hide from my ex-husband.
Butcher Lady: [sees Shaw] Who, Baldie?
Abigail: Yeah.
Butcher Lady: Honey, stay as long as you like.
[to Shaw]
Butcher Lady: Do you want something?
Shaw: [ignores her]
Butcher Lady: Do you want something?
Shaw: Shut up.
Butcher Lady: [to Abigail] I see why you left him.

Shaw: Ian. Ian, I've got them. They're heading toward City Hall.
Ian Howe: OK, I'm on my way.

Shaw: They're headed for the breezeway on the north side.
Ian Howe: I'll be right there.

Ian Howe: Hello, Ben. How are you?
Ben: Um, chained to a desk.
Ian Howe: Sorry to hear that. I want you to meet me on the flight deck of the USS Intrepid. You know where that is?
Ben: New York.
Ian Howe: Meet me there at ten o'clock tomorrow morning. And bring those glasses you found at Independence Hall. Yeah, I know about the glasses. We can take a look at the Declaration, and then you can be on your way.
Ben: And I'm supposed to believe that?
Ian Howe: I told you from the start, I only wanted to borrow it. You can have it. And the glasses. I'll even throw in the pipe from the Charlotte.
Ben: I'll be there.
Ian Howe: And tell the FBI agents listening in on this call if they want the Declaration back, and not just a box of confetti, then you'll come alone.

Sadusky: Agent Dawes, do you have a visual? Do you see Gates in the water?
Agent Dawes: Sir? It's the Hudson. Nothing is visible.
Sadusky: Smart fish.

Ian Howe: You all right, Ben? No broken bones? A jump like that could kill a man.
Ben: No, it was cool. You should try it some time.
Ian Howe: The Declaration of Independence and the meerschaum pipe. All yours.
Ben: That's it?
Ian Howe: That's it. I knew you'd keep your promise. Now, where is it? Where's my treasure?
Ben: It's right here. The map said "Heere at the wall", spelled with two E's. Wall Street follows the path of an actual wall that the original Dutch settlers built as a defence to keep the British out. The main gate was located at a street called De Heere, also two E's. Later De Heere Street was renamed Broadway after the British got in. So, "Heere at the wall." Broadway, Wall Street. Cheerio.
Ian Howe: Just a moment, Ben.
Ben: Ian, if you break our deal, the FBI will be only a few minutes behind you. You might get away, you might not.
Ian Howe: Is that all the map said?
Ben: Every word.
Ian Howe: Oh, Ben. You know the key to running a convincing bluff? Every once in a while, you've got to be holding all the cards.
[One of Ian's men shows Patrick Gates as hostage]
Ben: Dad.
Ian Howe: Is there anything else you want to tell me?
Ben: Trinity Church. We have to go inside Trinity Church.
Ian Howe: Good. Excellent. Well, why don't you ask Dr. Chase and Riley to join us? I'm sure they're around here somewhere.

Ben: Let them go, Ian.
Ian Howe: When we find the treasure.
Ben: No, now. Or you can figure out the clues for yourself. Good luck.
Ian Howe: Ben, I don't think you fully appreciate the gravity of the situation.

[they find a giant underground staircase]
Powell: How do a bunch of people with hand tools build all this?
Ben: The same way the built the pyramids, the Great Wall of China.
Riley: Yeah... the aliens helped them.

Ben: I'm so sorry I dropped you - I had to save the Declaration!
Abigail: No, don't be. I would have done exactly the same to you.
Ben: Really?
Abigail: Yeah.
Riley: I would've dropped you both. Freaks.

Abigail: You can't just leave us here.
Ian Howe: Yes, I can. Unless Ben tells me the next clue.
Ben: There isn't another clue.
Riley: Ian, why don't you come back down here and we can talk through this together?
(Ian Howe points his gun at Riley)
Ian Howe: Don't speak again.
Riley: Okay...
Ian Howe: The clue. Where's the treasure? Ben?
Patrick Gates: The lantern.
Ben: Dad...
Patrick Gates: The status quo has changed, son.
Ben: Don't.
Patrick Gates: It's part of Freemason teachings. In King Solomon's temple there was a winding staircase. It signified the journey that had to be made to find the light of truth. The lantern is the clue.
Ian: What does it mean?
Ben Gates: Boston. It's Boston.
Patrick Gates: The Old North Church, where Thomas Newton hung a lantern in the steeple, to signal Paul Revere that the British were coming. One if by land, two if by sea. One lantern. Under the winding staircase of the steeple, that's where we have to look.
Ian Howe: Thank you.
Patrick Gates: Hey, you have to take us with you.
Ian Howe: Why? So you can escape in Boston? Besides, with you out of the picture, there's less baggage to carry.
Patrick Gates: What if we lied?
Ian Howe: Did you?
Ben: What if there's another clue?
Ian Howe: Then I'll know right where to find you. See you, Ben.
(Ian Howe escapes, leaving Ben and the others behind)

Riley: We're all gonna die.
Ben: It's gonna be OK, Riley. I'm sorry I yelled at you.
Patrick Gates: It's okay, kiddo.
Abigail: OK, boys, what's going on? The British came by sea. It was two lanterns, not one.
Patrick Gates: Ian needed another clue, so we gave it to him.
Riley: It was a fake. It was a fake clue.
Ben: The all-seeing eye. Through the all seeing eye.
Riley: That means by the time Ian has figured it out, we'd still be trapped and he'll shoot us then. Either way, we're going to die.
Ben: Nobody's going to die. There is another way out.
Riley: Where?
Ben: Through the treasure room.

Riley: For the record, Ben, I like the house.
Ben: You know, I chose this estate because in 1812 Charles Carroll met...
Riley: Someone that did something in history and had fun. Great. Wonderful. [puts on a pair of sunglasses and starts the car] Could have had a bigger house.

[last lines]
Abigail: I made something for you.
Ben: You did? What?
Abigail: A map.
Ben: A map? But where does it lead to?
Abigail: You'll figure it out.

Ben: We don’t need someone crazy. But one step sort of crazy, what do you get?
Riley: Obsessed.
Ben: Passionate.

Riley: [After they find the treasure] They offered you ten percent, man. Ten percent.
Ben: Tell you what- next time we find a treasure that redefines history for all mankind, you call the shots.
Riley: What do you care? You got the girl. Enjoy your spoils while I sit on one percent. Half of one percent, actually. [Jumps into red Ferrari]
Ben: [Looking at Ferrari] I'm sorry for your suffering, Riley.


  • The greatest adventure history has ever revealed.
  • In order to break the code, one man will have to break all the rules.
  • The clues are right in front of your eyes.


External links

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