National Treasure: Movie Moments in Revolutionary America

Updated July 8, 2020.

It’s #MovieNight! One of my favorites since moving to D.C. is definitely National Treasure! I really like Nicolas Cage, and you know history is my thing! My husband and I re-watched it recently on Netflix, so I was inspired to include it in my Year of Movie Moments. Check it out!

The Storyline

Nicolas Cage plays Ben Gates, almost the last person on earth who still believes in an old family story passed down since the early 19th century. There’s a Masonic-Nights Templar treasure buried somewhere in America, and the map to find it is drawn in invisible ink on the back of one of America’s founding documents: the Declaration of Independence!

The movie follows Ben, and a couple of people he’s roped into helping him, who steals the Declaration to keep it from being stolen by the bad guys. I’d classify it as a lite spy thriller—loads of spy stuff, some fight scenes, and some humor thrown in so it’s family-friendly!

The Sites

The movie is set in some of my favorite American cities, and you can visit the sites, too!

Washington, D.C.

  • White House: Where Ben’s ancestral grandfather was first told about the treasure.
  • National Archives: Where Ben has to steal the Declaration of Independence right out from everyone’s noses!
  • Herbert Hoover FBI Building: Ben and his sidekick Riley try to reason with the FBI, but of course, they think it’s a crazy scam.
  • Library of Congress Reading Room: Because where else would you find the plan for the National Archives underbelly?
  • Lincoln Memorial: Where Ben tells Riley his plan to steal the Declaration before the bad guys do.
Read on: All Things Washignton, D.C.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Franklin Institute: Where the Silence Dogood letters are located. The letters are a clue!
  • Independence Hall: Where the Liberty Bell originally hung—and another clue has been waiting for over 250 years.
Independence Hall
Read on: What to Eat in Philadelphia

New York, New York

  • U.S.S. Intrepid: The site of a daring attempted getaway when Ben is in FBI custody but needs to find the bad guys and join them for a bit.
  • Trinity Church: I can’t tell you about this one–that would be a spoiler!
Trinity Church Graveyard. Don’t forget to look for Revolutionary soldiers’ grave markers!

Boston, Massachusetts

  • Old North Church: Is the clue a fake? Will the bad guys win after all? A lantern and Boston’s Old North Church holds the answer!
Paul Revere in front of the Old North Church.
Read on: Your Ultimate Guide to the Freedom Trail

Have Your Own National Treasure Movie Moment

A visit to any of these places is sure to inspire national pride in any American, so pick one (or all!) of these cities and explore every inch you can. Definitely go to the National Archives, get a library card so you can go into the Reading Room at the Library of Congress, and pay a visit to good ol’ Lincoln; don’t forget to turn around and get epic views of the National Mall while you’re up there!

NOTE: Your National Treasure movie moment should NOT include trying to steal the Declaration of Independence!

The Declaration of Independence, way back when you could still take pictures of it!
Want more? Read D.C. for History Lovers!

Have Your Own Movie Night

Grab your history-loving friends and have an all-American theme night! Hamburgers, hot dogs, apple pie, mayonnaise-based “salads,” and peanut butter and jelly are all excellent choices for an American meal. Want to go one better? Try out some Colonial recipes: think cock-a-leekie pie, hoecakes, peanut soup, and colorful jellies for dessert! More ideas on the Colonial Williamsburg website!

Read on: What I Ate in Williamsburg

And, of course, don’t forget to watch the movie! Or better yet, get them both and have a movie marathon!

Want more? Have a look at my dedicated Washington, D.C., Page!

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One response to “National Treasure: Movie Moments in Revolutionary America”

  1. Jared M Hassell Avatar
    Jared M Hassell

    One of the all time great, live action, Disney movies.

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