Treasure King: Top 10 Treasure Hunting Movies
03.29.14 by Ryan
Are you ready for the hunt? April 2 is the debut of the new REELZ show Treasure King in which larger-than-life-collector Richie Marcello and his team of experts search for Hollywood valuables. In the premiere episode, Richie and the gang look for the Dukes of Hazard General Lee, otherwise known as a 1969 Dodge Charger.
But before we see if Richie can keep his title of Treasure King, we started to think: what are the top ten best treasure hunting movies of all time? Check out our list and see if you agree.
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Bit of an easy call, since "treasure" is in the title, and, true to form, this 1948 classic sees Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston and Tim Holt search for gold in the Sierra Madre mountains during the 1920s. Once gold is found, greed rears its ugly head and trust is lost among the group. Bandits and Mexican Federales don't make an accord between the men any easier, nor does it help that they want to kill each other. The movie was a change of pace for Bogart, and brought gold (Oscar gold) to Bogart's co-star Walter Huston and his son, director John Huston.
Bit of trivia: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is where the quote "I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges" comes from. 1974's Blazing Saddles referenced the quote in the line "we don't need no stinkin' badges," which is currently how it is most often quoted. You can thank us when your team wins on quiz night.
This 1884 romantic comedy followed Kathleen Turner as romance novelist Joan Wilder, who travels to Cartagena, Columbia, to rescue her sister from smugglers and use a treasure map to find an enormous emerald. In order to find it, she enlists the help of the brash Jack T. Colton (Michael Douglas), with whom she eventually falls in love. The movie outperformed expectations and became the only that hit that year for 20th Century Fox.
Both actors returned for the 1985 sequel Jewel of the Nile, mostly because the studio filed a $25 million dollar lawsuit against Turner if she didn't show up.
You know what they say about Nazis: never take their treasure. Ok, maybe that's not exactly a saying, but it certainly applies in this 2009 Norwegian horror flick, which follows a group of college friends who escape to the mountains for vacation only to find a box of golden trinkets that unleashes a horde of bloodthirsty Nazi zombies. And when it comes to zombie lore, there's almost nothing worse than a Nazi zombie. They'll stop at nothing to reclaim their stuff, even if it's just a single gold coin. To that end, a Dead Snow sequel arrived earlier this year.
Who knew that the back of the Declaration of Independence held a map to find a treasure hidden by the Founding Fathers? Nicholas Cage of course! Cage plays historian Benjamin Franklin Gates, who follows clue after clue in a search that sometimes even feels like learning? Cage's scene chewing and some historical facts sprinkled throughout some fictional historical facts? That's a win-win, folks.
2007's National Treasure Book of Secrets followed and a third movie was reportedly on its way, though has yet to arrive despite the sequel ending with what seemed like an obvious set-up for a third installment.
This 1981 fantasy classic was the breakthrough hit for former Monty Python member and director Terry Gilliam (12 Monkeys, Brazil). The movie follows a band of dwarves who team with an 11-year-old boy (Craig Warnock) to steal riches across the spacetime continuum. Along the way, the team meet Robin Hood (John Cleese), King Agamemnon (Sean Connery) and Napoleon (Ian Holm) before dueling against Evil itself in an ending that, if watched at, say, the tender age of 7, will delight as well as frighten the viewer. Any night terrors can be blamed on fellow Monty Python member Miachel Palin, who co-wrote the movie with Gilliam.
We return to the era of Bogart for one of his first leading-man roles in this 1941 film noir masterpiece. Bogie plays private investigator Sam Spade, whose case brings him in contact with three men who are all competing to claim a jeweled statue. You might be asking, "Where's the treasure hunting?" but while the movie has no treasure map and trades exotic locales for San Francisco, the basic tenet is the same: using any means necessary to claim an unique treasure.
The Maltese Falcon became the detective movie by which all others are measured, and is one of many adaptations of author Dashiell Hammett's novels.
All Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) wants to do is prove herself among her fellow Egyptologists, which means finding the gold book from a tomb in Hamunaptra, the city of the dead. The good news is she finds the city with the help of American adventurer Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser), but the bad news is she inadvertently awakens the remains of an evil, mummified priest. Oops!
While the Mummy is ultimately vanquished, Evelyn and Rick's dealings with Imhotep would only continue as they continually bail out their son in the appropriately titled The Mummy Returns and again in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. You know what they say about the mummy business, just when you think you're out, they keep pulling you back in. At least, we think it's the mummy business.
The debut Pirates movie is, ultimately, about treasure, only this time, Captain Jack (Johnny Depp), Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) must put the treasure back in order to stop Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and his immortal skeleton crew. The 2003 action adventure started a franchise that may or may not be still alive, with three sequels made so far.
Whether a fifth Pirates gets made or not, kids visiting Disneyland will forever experience Captain Jack Sparrow as part of the ride that served as the inspiration for the movies, even if he wasn't there to begin with.
What do you do when find an old, Spanish map that says a lost treasure of Pirate One-Eyed Willie is in the area? You do everything you can to convince your band of nicknamed friends to help you find it. Of course, you may not be the only people looking for the treasure, so look out for a family of criminals if you can. Just remember, making friends in strange places might be your saving grace.
Every Indiana Jones features treasure hunting of some kind or another, but we'll stick with the original despite enjoying the entire trilogy (What, there was a fourth? Hmph. Don't remember that.).
Raiders saw Harrison Ford play his second iconoclastic role as the snake-hating, museum-loving, professor of archaeology. In his initial adventure (which is actually his second, since Raiders is set after the events of it's sequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), he's in search of the Ark of the Covenant. All he has to do is sneak it past the Nazis and (and this is very important) keep his eye closed when necessary. And, as opposed to his other iconic role, this time Ford definitely shot first.