Tales of treasure hunts have become less and less popular among modern movies today. But there was a time when the plot element of a hidden treasure was popular in action and adventure films. Here are the 10 of the best treasure hunting movies ranked and reviewed for your viewing.
10. Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter (2014)
This film has such a heartbreaking premise.
Based on an actual urban legend, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter (2014) tells the story of a Japanese office worker, Kumiko, who sets out on a treasure hunt to find the ransom money from the movie Fargo.
Here’s the catch though, Kumiko is under the impression that the movie she watched was a documentary instead of a fictional film. Thus, she set out to the United States to look for the treasure ‘buried’ in North Dakota.
More than a treasure hunt, the film is an exploration of the depths of a woman’s loneliness and attempt to escape a monotonous life through fantastical means.
9. Romancing the Stone (1984)
In Romancing the Stone (1984), Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner a pair of strangers who cross paths in the jungles of Colombia. They will eventually come together in an adventure as they search for an emerald called El Corazon (literally translated to ‘The Heart’).
Part romance and part adventure film, this film is a great watch for treasure hunt movies sprinkled with romantic comedy elements. What more, the film is a quintessential 80’s movie that aged quite well over the years.
8. King Solomon’s Mines (1950)
Audiences in the 1950s were astounded by the scenic landscapes of the African continent in King Solomon’s Mines (1950).
The film’s story is based on a novel by H. Rider Haggard and follows an adventurer, Allan Quatermain, who is on the hunt to find the biblical mines of King Solomon of Israel.
In the film, we see plenty of scenes featuring the African flora and fauna as well as the African tribes’ rich culture. Watch out for a superb scene where members of the Watusi tribe excellently perform a traditional dance.
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7. National Treasure (2004)
Chances are, you’ve already watched this film.
In National Treasure (2004), Nicolas Cage plays Ben Gates, a historian, and code-breaker, who is on a mission to steal the Declaration of Independence scroll. Why you might ask? He believes that the scroll holds a secret treasure map that leads to a bounty of Egyptian artifacts and other high-value items hidden by the country’s founding fathers.
The film is a perfect watch for history buffs and action movie fans who are looking for a fun movie. National Treasure is one of the best treasure hunting movies of all time.
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6. Mackenna’s Gold (1969)
While Mackenna’s Gold (1969) wasn’t popular among the critics upon its release (until now actually), it is loved by audiences for its big-name cast and absurdly fun although lacking plot. Some even say that the film is the equivalent of today’s all-star cast movies with ‘thin’ plots.
The film follows different groups of men who are searching for a lost treasure that’s allegedly lie in the canyons. It makes up for its thin plot for the film’s attempts at special effects and a fabulous score that perfectly fits its spectacle. Mackenna’s Gold is one of the 60’s best movies about treasure hunting.
5. Time Bandits (1981)
This film is every history geek’s dream come true. The aptly named Time Bandits (1981) follows a kid who loves history who is given the opportunity to time travel through his cupboard.
As he journeys back in time, he gets to experience historic events and meet figures like Robin Hood and Napoleon Bonaparte. He even got to stand on the RMS Titanic as it sank in the ocean.
The film is notable for its Monty Python-inspired humor adapted for a younger generation of viewers. Time Bandits is one of the 80’s best treasure hunt films.
4. The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
The Adventures of Tintin (2011) was created by two of the biggest names in the film industry. Here, Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson join forces to make a well-loved literary character to come to life on the big screen.
Thanks to them, fans were able to watch Tintin, Captain Haddock and Snowy go on a hunt to find the treasure that sunk with the ship Unicorn all in 3D motion capture format.
As expected, the film received praises from critics for its amazing visual effects and thrilling plot.
Also Read: 10 Best Adventure Movies of All Time
3. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
In It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), we see the treasure hunt that follows a dying gangster’s sharing of his secret of an alleged $350,000 loot money left at a park near the Mexican border under the ‘Big W’.
The film’s entertainment value primary relies on the antics that the unique set of treasure hunters get into as they make a mad dash to the border to look for the money hidden under the ‘Big W’.
2. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Of course, a list of the best treasure hunting movies is not complete without a mention of this classic movie.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) is so good it’s dubbed as the textbook manual of how to make an adventure-filled treasure hunt film that’s also highly entertaining.
In this installment of the Indiana Jones movie series, visionary director Steven Spielberg takes us on an epic adventure from the catacombs beneath Venice Italy to the Nazi-filled Castle Brunwald ending at the Petra where the coveted Holy Grail chalice from the last supper lies.
Harrison Ford returns to play one his most iconic roles as the titular Indiana Jones starring alongside Sean Connery as the senior Mr. Jones.
1. The Treasure of Sierra Madre (1948)
Making it to our number one spot on the list of movies about treasure hunting is The Treasure of Sierra Madre (1948).
In the film, we see a tale of betrayal and greed as three people head to the Mexican mountains of Sierra Madre in search of gold. The film is based on a novel of the same name written by B. Traven.
It stars Humphrey Bogart, Tim Holt, and Walter Huston as a group of treasure hunters who face multiple challenges from the bandits they encounter along the way.
The film also highlights their inward struggles about greed, the human conscience and their own flaws and insecurities.
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What is your favorite treasure hunting movie? Did you find it on our top 10 movies about treasure hunting list? Don’t hesitate to tell us in the comments below.