I'm gonna steal the Declaration of Independence.
Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) has spent his entire life dreaming of and searching for the buried treasure of the Knights Templar who, according to legend, attempted to hide their treasure on US soil.
The last clue to this treasure was given to one of Ben's ancestors by Charles Carroll before his death.
Ben considers it his life mission to find the treasure to prove that his family is not a bunch of nut jobs who are insistent that there is a vast buried treasure.
The clue Ben is left with is: The secret lies with Charlotte. After unexplained searching, he finds the place where a great ship is buried, The Charlotte. The moment has finally come when he can defend his family's name and find that treasure.
But the treasure is not there, only another clue.
Ben runs into a big problem when he discovers that the only men who do believe him turn out to be mercenaries not really wanting to help him but rather intent on getting their hands on the treasure.
His disappointment in finding nothing but a clue in The Charlotte leads to a disagreement on how to proceed ending in the mercenaries trying to kill him and his friend, Riley, and taking off, content to continue the search without him.
It is now a race to discover and follow the clues before the mercenary bunch can keep up. Their next clue is hidden behind the Declaration of Independence, and Ben needs to steal it and restore it before his competitors steal it and destroy it.
Standing in his path is a historian stationed where the Declaration is kept on display. Ben starts by asking this woman, Abigail Chase, if she could arrange to let him look at the Declaration of Independence. She refuses to help him, resulting in his breaking in and stealing it.
When she finds out, she chases him and becomes also entangled in the battle between him and the mercenaries, helping him against her will until she believes in his cause and starts helping him for real.
The clues continue to lead from one to another and Ben is left chasing them, but is the treasure real and will he find it before his enemies do?
This movie is fun to watch because of how much it is immersed in American history and our heritage. It is an action and adventure which, although very serious, resorts to many lighthearted moments, making it very entertaining.
Points to Consider: It is an unquestionable truth that our country was founded by Masonic men. That being said, this movie does refer to many Masonic symbols and beliefs. The clues are all very embedded in Masonry.
In the beginning, the last survivor of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence is Charles Carroll and he is the one who passes off the last clue. He is portrayed as being a Mason here. We, of course, know that this cannot be true because he was, in fact, a strong Catholic.
Although it is not the case, when Ben goes to his dad, tells him he is in trouble, and has a woman with him, the first thing his dad asks is "Is she pregnant?" This is quickly denied, but it is in the film.
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