National Treasure: Book of Secrets

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National Treasure: Book of Secrets
Book of secrets post.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJon Turteltaub
Screenplay byCormac Wibberley
Marianne Wibberley
Story by
Based onCharacters
by Jim Kouf
Oren Aviv
Charles Segars
Produced by
Edited by
Music byTrevor Rabin
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date
  • December 21, 2007 (2007-12-21)
Running time
124 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$130 million[1]
Box office$459.2 million[2]

National Treasure: Book of Secrets is a 2007 American action-adventure film directed by Jon Turteltaub and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. It is a sequel to the 2004 film National Treasure and is the second film of the National Treasure franchise. The film stars Nicolas Cage in the lead role, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, Ed Harris, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Bruce Greenwood and Helen Mirren. The film premiered in New York City on December 13, 2007, and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures released it in North America on December 21, 2007. Critics surveyed by Rotten Tomatoes called it too similar to its predecessor. It grossed $459 million worldwide.


Five days after the end of the Civil War, John Wilkes Booth and Michael O'Laughlen, both members of the KGC, approach Thomas Gates to decode a message copied into Booth's diary. Thomas recognizes the message as a Playfair cipher, and translates it while Booth departs for Ford's Theatre to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. Thomas solves the puzzle, realizes Booth and O'Laughlen are trying to help the Confederacy, and rips the cipher's pages from the diary to burn them. O'Laughlen shoots Thomas and flees with the one surviving page fragment, and a dying Thomas tells his son Charles the keyword for the cipher.

More than 140 years later, famed treasure-hunter Ben Gates tells Thomas' story at a Civilian Heroes conference. Black market dealer Mitch Wilkinson produces the page fragment, with Thomas Gates' name next to those of Mary Surratt and Dr. Samuel Mudd. The public believes Thomas helped kill Lincoln, and Ben and his father Patrick set out to disprove it. Using spectral imaging, Ben discovers traces of the cipher on the diary page, that, when solved using the keyword, points to the smaller Statue of Liberty in Paris. Traveling there, Ben and his friend Riley Poole discover an engraving referencing the Resolute desks. They head to London, reluctantly recruiting Ben's estranged girlfriend, Dr. Abigail Chase, along the way. Ben and Abigail sneak a peek at the Buckingham Palace desk, and obtain a Pre-Columbian carved plank from a secret drawer. Mitch, who had secretly cloned Patrick's cell phone in order to track Ben's whereabouts, pursues the trio, and eventually obtains the wooden plank, but not before Ben manages to photograph it.

Back in America, Patrick reluctantly asks his ex-wife, archaeo-lexicologist Dr. Emily Appleton, for help. She claims the carvings reference the "center of the earth", but points out that some of the glyphs are partial. Ben and Abigail convince Abigail's new boyfriend Connor, a White House Curator, to let them see the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. Ben discovers that the second plank has been replaced by a stamp of an altered Presidential seal, which Riley identifies as the symbol for a secret shared diary, written by Presidents and containing controversial topics such as Watergate, Area 51, and the JFK assassination. Ben's FBI friend Agent Peter Sadusky confirms the book's existence, but warns that no one can read its contents without express permission from the sitting President.

Ben crashes the President's birthday party at Mount Vernon to convince the President to explore a secret tunnel with him. There, Ben activates a secret sliding door, separates the President from his guards, and asks him about the book, while safely leading the President to freedom at the other end of the tunnel. The President sympathetically warns Ben that his actions, while innocently meant, will be interpreted as attempted kidnapping. He then reveals the book is hidden in a safe at the Library of Congress, asking Ben to find out what is on page 47 for him. Pursued by the FBI, Ben, Abigail, and Riley manage a brief look at the book. They find a photograph of the missing plank, and an entry by Calvin Coolidge. He found the plank in 1924, translated it, had it destroyed, and commissioned Gutzon Borglum to carve Mount Rushmore, to hide evidence of a hidden treasure nearby.

After consulting Emily about the glyphs, Ben, Riley, Abigail, and Patrick head to Mount Rushmore. They meet Mitch and Emily there, as Mitch kidnapped her after Ben left. Mitch already has acquired, memorized, and destroyed the final clue, so he can claim the treasure. He helps the group find the entrance of a cave full of booby traps. After briefly getting separated, the group finds a pit containing Cíbola, a Native American city of gold. An ancient dam fails, and it becomes clear one of the group must sacrifice themselves in the quickly flooding cave to hold open the door for the others. Mitch does so, but begs Ben to give him posthumous credit for finding the treasure so he can be in the history books, too.

Ben and the rest return to the surface, where the President prevents Ben from being arrested by claiming Ben saved him from the tunnel's accidental closing. Ben ensures that Mitch receives joint credit for the discovery, rekindles his relationship with Abigail, and clears Thomas Gates' name by proving that Booth had consulted him about the treasure, not the assassination. The scene ends just as Ben is about to reveal to the President what page 47 says, hinting at a third film.


  • Nicolas Cage as Benjamin Franklin "Ben" Gates, treasure hunter, historian and cryptologist
  • Justin Bartha as Riley Poole, computer expert and author, Ben's best friend
  • Diane Kruger as Dr. Abigail Chase, Director of Document Conservation at the National Archives, Ben's ex-girlfriend
  • Jon Voight as Patrick Henry Gates, Ben's father who is divorced from his wife Emily
  • Helen Mirren as Dr. Emily Appleton-Gates, professor of Native American Studies, Ben's mother who is divorced from her husband, Patrick
  • Ed Harris as Mitchell "Mitch" Wilkinson, a black market dealer
  • Harvey Keitel as FBI Special Agent Peter Sadusky
  • Armando Riesco as FBI Special Agent Hendricks
  • Alicia Coppola as FBI Special Agent Spellman
  • Albert Hall as Dr. Nichols
  • Bruce Greenwood as President of the United States
  • Ty Burrell as Connor, White House curator, Abigail's new boyfriend.

Randy Travis makes a cameo appearance, performing at the Mount Vernon party. Small supporting parts are played by Joel Gretsch and Billy Unger as Gates's ancestors Thomas Gates and Charles Carroll Gates; Christian Camargo as John Wilkes Booth; Brent Briscoe as Michael O'Laughlen; and Zachary Gordon as a boy who gets into a heated argument with Gates over a Lincoln conspiracy. In France, Guillaume Gallienne and Scali Delpeyrat appear (uncredited) as the French policemen.


Shooting of the film in London
A sign on the road approaching Mount Rushmore

It was stated in the first film's commentary that there were no plans for a sequel, but due to the first film's impressive box-office performance (earning $347.5 million worldwide), a sequel was given the go-ahead in 2005.

Many scenes of historic locations were filmed on location, including the scenes at Mount Vernon and Mount Rushmore.[3][4] Filming at Mount Rushmore took longer than initially scheduled, due to inclement weather and the decision to change the setting of additional scenes to the area around Mount Rushmore to take advantage of the Black Hills backdrop.[4] The scene at the beginning of the film in which Riley is signing copies of his book of the Templar Treasure until his Ferrari is confiscated by the IRS took place at the street level Borders Group bookstore of Garfinckel's Department Store.


The soundtrack to National Treasure: Book of Secrets was released on December 18, 2007.


Box office[edit]

National Treasure: Book of Secrets grossed $44.8 million in its opening week, placing at #1 at the box office. It remained in first at the box office for two more weeks, grossing $35.7 million and $20.1 million, respectively, until it was dethroned by The Bucket List ($19.4 million).

The film grossed $220 million in North America and $237.4 million in other territories for a total gross of $457.4 million, against a budget of $130 million,[2] making it the ninth-highest-grossing film of 2007,[5] and the highest-grossing film in the series. It took 38 days to outgross the first film ($347.5 million).

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film holds an approval rating of 36% based on 130 reviews, with an average rating of 4.80/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A talented cast goes to waste in the improbable National Treasure: Book of Secrets, which is eerily similar to the first film."[6] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 48 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[7] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[8]

Roger Ebert gave the film 2 out of 4 stars.[9]

British film critic Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian disputed the implication of British support for the Confederate side in the American Civil War.[10]


The film earned two Razzie Award nominations including Worst Actor for Nicolas Cage (also for Ghost Rider and Next) and Worst Supporting Actor for Jon Voight (also for Bratz: The Movie, September Dawn, and Transformers), but lost both categories to Eddie Murphy for Norbit.[11]

The film was nominated for Best Movie at the 2008 MTV Movie Awards, but lost to Transformers.[citation needed]

Home media[edit]

National Treasure: Book of Secrets was released on DVD, UMD, and Blu-ray Disc on May 20, 2008[12] (June 2, 2008 in the UK).[13] In the opening weekend, 3,178,631 DVD units were sold, bringing in $50,826,310 in revenue. As of August 2009, 5,873,640 DVD units have been sold, generating revenue of $93,132,076. This does not include Blu-ray Disc sales or DVD rentals.[14]

The film has been retitled National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets for all three releases. The film's official website has also been changed accordingly.

A special edition, called the "National Treasure Presidential Edition", contains National Treasure and National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets inside a letter book which is a replica of the Presidents' secret book from National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets.[15]


Disney Press published an official novelization of the screenplay titled National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets The Junior Novel on November 6, 2007.[16] Parts of the story in the novel version differ slightly from what was actually filmed, owing to changes being made in the screenplay prior to and during production. For example, in the novel, Ben and Abigail photograph the wooden plank found hidden in the Queen's desk and leave it behind, with the car chase following. However, in the movie, they take the plank with them on the chase.

Also published on the same day as the official novelization was a companion youth novel Changing Tides: A Gates Family Mystery by Catherine Hapka. Its story is set in England in the year 1612 and is the first in a series of planned historical novels about the Gates family. The epilogue from Changing Tides is included at the back of the National Treasure book.[17] The second youth novel by Hapka, Midnight Ride: A Gates Family Mystery, was published on March 8, 2008.[18]


The group mentioned in the film as being behind the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and pursuing the city of gold, The Knights of the Golden Circle, had actually disbanded in 1863. It was based in Cincinnati, Ohio, where its founder George W. L. Bickley resided.[19] Though a native of Virginia, Bickley had actually been known for being an adventurer and also bad with finances.[20] His main focus was also not on preserving the Confederate States of America (CSA), but restoring slavery in southern neighboring countries which he wanted to make part of a proposed nation dubbed "Golden Circle."[20] While some members of the group would join the Confederate Army, Bickley was more focused on colonizing parts of northern Mexico as slave states.[20] He would not join the Confederate Army until after his expeditions in Mexico faltered in 1863.[20] Soon afterwards, the organization was exposed and many members were arrested while attempting to steal numerous gold shipments from San Francisco Bay.[21][22][23]

Following the outbreak of the American Civil War numerous Golden Circle members were not focused on fighting Union states north of the Mason-Dixon Line as the film suggests, but were pre-occupied with making the Union territory of New Mexico a part of the proposed Golden Circle nation as well.[24][25] Those who operated in the North mostly aligned with Copperhead politicians who preferred a negotiated end to the war.[26] Bickley, who served the Confederate Army for months as a surgeon to General Braxton Bragg, would be captured in Indiana in July 1863 on charges of being a Confederate spy and remained in house arrest until October 1865.[20] The month before his arrest, Bickley abandoned the Confederate Army after preferring to settle in Tennessee.[20] Former members would also name its successor organization the Order of the Sons of Liberty in 1864, the year before Lincoln's assassination.[27] This successor organization was exposed the same year it was founded and members were arrested and tried for treason.[28]

The film's suggestion that Britain wanted a strong alliance with the Confederate States of America was also highly unlikely. Efforts which were made by Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin to persuade Britain to simply recognize the Confederate States of America proved unsuccessful.[29]

The wooden plank map hidden within both Resolute Desks that leads to the location of Cíbola would have been of no use to the Confederacy, as the desks were constructed and delivered between the years 1879 and 1880, some 15 years after the American Civil War concluded and the disbandment of the Confederate states. Similarly, the clues left by Édouard Laboulaye would have been equally of no use, as the earliest models of the Statue of Liberty and all subsequent replicas were all constructed no earlier than 1875, 10 years after the end of the Civil War.


In May 2008 Jon Turteltaub confirmed that there would be additional National Treasure movies, but acknowledged that the creative team would take their time on the second sequel.[30] That same year, The Walt Disney Company registered the IP for the domain names for future films.[31]

In October 2013, Turteltaub stated that all individuals involved with the first two movies want to make a third film. He further stated that the delays have been due to working out the script, and that he expected the film to begin production in 2015.[32] By 2014, producer Jerry Bruckheimer announced that a new team of writers were working on the script.[33] In May 2016, Nicolas Cage confirmed that the script was still being sorted out.[34] By September 2017, it was revealed that a script had been finished, but that the executives at Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures were not satisfied with the story.[35] In July 2018, Turtletaub stated that the script was "close", but the studios still weren't going to green-light production yet.[36]

In January 2020, after years of development hell, it was announced that a third film was officially moving forward with a script from Chris Bremner.[37][38][39] Jerry Bruckheimer will return as producer and the original cast is expected to return as well.[38][40]

In April 2022, Nicolas Cage was hosting an AMA (Ask Me Anything) thread on Reddit where he commented on the possibility of future installments: "No, the priority was to turn it into a TV show so I would say probably not."[41]

At the D23 Expo of September 2022 it was announced a sequel TV series will be released on the Disney+ streaming service. The title of the series was also confirmed respectively - National Treasure: Edge of History. Lisette Alexis was confirmed to play the lead role of Jess, a 20-year old DREAMer who sets out on an adventure to uncover her family's history. Cage confirmed he would not be reprising his role for the series. Jerry Bruckheimer was confirmed to serve as executive producer for the series. The series will have a two-episode premiere on December 14, 2022. [42][43]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Treasure: Book of Secrets". Already seen. 2007. Archived from the original on November 21, 2008. Retrieved April 18, 2008.
  2. ^ a b "National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 28, 2007.
  3. ^ "The National Treasure Tour at Mount Vernon". Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. Archived from the original on August 1, 2011. Retrieved June 12, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "'National Treasure 2' Shooting Update". Worst Previews. Retrieved June 12, 2011.
  5. ^ "2007 Worldwide Grosses". Box Office Mojo.
  6. ^ "National Treasure: Book of Secrets". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  7. ^ "National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 28, 2007.
  8. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger. "National Treasure: Book of Secrets movie review (2007)". Chicago Sun-Times.
  10. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (February 8, 2008). "National Treasure: Book of Secrets". The Guardian. Retrieved January 23, 2011.
  11. ^ Wilson, John (2009). "28th Annual Golden Raspberry (Razzie) Award "Winners"". Home of the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation. Golden Raspberry Award Foundation. Archived from the original on February 10, 2012. Retrieved May 1, 2009.
  12. ^ Lai, Marcus. "National Treasure Blu-ray orders spike at Amazon". Punch jump. Archived from the original on October 4, 2008. Retrieved April 16, 2008.
  13. ^ "National Treasure 2 – Book of Secrets". Amazon. Retrieved July 15, 2008.
  14. ^ "National Treasure: The Book of Secrets – DVD Sales". The Numbers. 2007.
  15. ^ "Disney's National Treasure Limited Leather 5-Disc Set DVD (National Treasure, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets)". Amazon. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  16. ^ Lloyd, Ann (November 6, 2007). National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, The Junior Novel. ISBN 978-1423106272.
  17. ^ Hapka, Catherine (November 6, 2007). Changing Tides (National Treasure). ISBN 978-1423108146.
  18. ^ Hapka, Catherine (March 25, 2008). Midnight Ride (Gates Family Mystery). ISBN 978-1423108153.
  19. ^ Bridges, C. A. (January 1941). "The Knights of the Golden Circle: A Filibustering Fantasy". Southwestern Historical Quarterly. 44 (3): 287–302. JSTOR 30235905.
  20. ^ a b c d e f Kemme, Steve (August 21, 2011). "SECRET SOCIETY BECAME MODEL FOR KU KLUX KLAN". The Cincinnati Enquirer. p. 28. Retrieved October 21, 2020 – via
  21. ^ "California Naval History: The Pacific Squadron of 1861-1866". February 8, 2016. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  22. ^ "The Pacific Squadron of 1861–1866", in Aurora Hunt, The Army of the Pacific; Its Operations in California, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Plains Region, Mexico, etc. 1860–1866
  23. ^ Boessenecker, John (1993). Badge and Buckshot: Lawlessness in Old California. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 135–136. ISBN 9780806125107. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  24. ^ Thompson, Jerry D. Colonel John Robert Baylor: Texas Indian Fighter and Confederate Soldier. Hillsboro, Tex: Hill Junior College Press, 1971. ISBN 978-0-912172-14-9.
  25. ^ Speck, Ernest B. "NEWCOMB, JAMES PEARSON | The Handbook of Texas Online&#124".; Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). Retrieved October 15, 2016.
  26. ^ Klement, Frank L. (1955). "Copperhead Secret Societies: In Illinois during the Civil War". Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society. 48 (2): 152–180. JSTOR 40189429.
  27. ^ William B. Hesseline, Lincoln and the War Governors, Alfred A. Knopf, 1948. OCLC 445066. p. 312.
  28. ^ David C. Keehn (2013). Knights of the Golden Circle: Secret Empire, Southern Secession, Civil War. Louisiana State UP. p. 173. ISBN 9780807150047.
  29. ^ "Charlotte's Monument to a Jewish Confederate Was Hated Even Before It Was Built". Smithsonian Magazine.
  30. ^ Kirkland, Bruce (May 30, 2008). "'National Treasure 3' in works". Jam!. CA: Canoe. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012.
  31. ^ Sciretta, Peter (February 1, 2008). "Disney Plans For National Treasure 3 & 4". SlashFilm.
  32. ^ Franklin, Garth (October 22, 2013). "A "National Treasure 3" Is On The Way?". Dark Horizons. Archived from the original on March 31, 2014. Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  33. ^ "Jerry Bruckheimer on Deliver Us From Evil, Pirates of the Caribbean 5, and More". Collider. July 3, 2014.
  34. ^ Romano, Nick (May 25, 2016). "'National Treasure 3': Nic Cage Says the Writers Are Still Fact-Checking". Collider.
  35. ^ "Exklusiv-Update zu "National Treasure 3": Disney muss noch vom "Vermächtnis der Tempelritter"-Sequel überzeugt werden". (in German).
  36. ^ Alyssa Fikse (July 30, 2018). "The Director Of 'National Treasure' Explains Why We Haven't Gotten A Third Movie Yet". Uproxx. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  37. ^ McNary, Dave (January 18, 2020). "'National Treasure 3' Moves Ahead From Disney, Jerry Bruckheimer".
  38. ^ a b "'Bad Boys 4' in the Works (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  39. ^ "'National Treasure 3' in the Works, Chris Bremner Attached to Write Script". January 17, 2020.
  40. ^ "'National Treasure 3' in the Works with Chris Bremner Attached to Write Script".
  41. ^ "r/movies Nicolas Cage's AMA". Reddit. April 10, 2022.
  42. ^ {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  43. ^ Petski, Denise (September 10, 2022). "'National Treasure: Edge Of History': Disney+ Unveils Official Trailer With Help From Catherine Zeta-Jones & More – D23". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 12, 2022.

External links[edit]