Quarantine's Left Me With A Lot Of Free Time, So I Ranked Every "National Treasure" Movie


You’re not going to believe this, but a few restless nights ago the Founding Fathers visited me in my dreams and whispered a secret into my ears, and the secret was this: National Treasure is being added to Disney+ on April 30.

Walt Disney Pictures

When I awoke the following morning, I knew immediately what I had to do. I had to watch all two (!!!) of the National Treasure movies and rank them. After all, if I didn’t take on this monumental task, who would?

So let’s get to it then, shall we?

2. National Treasure: Book of Secrets

Walt Disney Pictures

Book of Secrets is both the runner-up and ranked dead last on this list. Before all you Ed Harris-heads and Helen Mirren-maniacs show up at my home with pitchforks and torches, please allow me to explain myself:

It’s not that I don’t love this movie (I really do love it); it’s just that it doesn’t hold a candle to number one on this list. BoS has the second greatest line in the history of cinema (“I’m gonna kidnap the president of the United States”), and lights out performances from everyone involved. So then where does the movie fall flat? I’m glad you asked. We’re left with a cliffhanger at the very end — what is on page 47? — and a promise of a third film. I think we can all agree that the real “Book of Secrets” is the script for National Treasure 3. I’m sorry for going there, but I had to.

1. National Treasure

Walt Disney Pictures

Wow. We finally made it to the end of this journey, this labor of love. There were moments when I almost quit on this project. But when the going got tough I forced myself to keep going, keep watching, keep ranking. And here we are: the end.

If I’m being completely honest, there was never really any doubt that this film is the cornerstone of the National Treasure series. Jon Turteltaub went entirely too hard when he directed this one. When Sean Bean didn’t die a sudden and violent death, it occurred to me that I was watching something completely original. When Benjamin Franklin Gates proclaimed, “I’m gonna steal the Declaration of Independence,” I hooted. When Detective Sadusky (played by the incomparable Harvey Keitel) reasoned, “Someone’s got to go to prison, Ben” (because the Declaration of Independence was stolen), I hollered. National Treasure walked so that National Treasure: Book of Secrets could run, and it really is that simple.

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