20 Great Treasure Hunting Movies Worth Watching

11. King Solomon’s Mines (J. Lee Thompson, 1985)

King Solomon’s Mines (1985)

The 1985 movie version of H. Rider Haggard’s novel took liberties with the subject and the characters, added a lot of humor to the plot. This suited the audiences well as the film was a success.

The film stars Richard Chamberlain as fortune hunter Allan Quatermain who will do just about anything for money. One day, he is solicited by a resourceful woman to help her find her missing father who is last seen in the wilds of Africa. Cannibal tribes and rival German explorers make their journey more difficult and impose obstacles in achieving their task.

Make no mistake, this movie is no Indiana Jones, but it is a very enjoyable film about treasures and treasure hunting.


12. Cutthroat Island (Renny Harlin, 1995)


In its day, this movie was a family affair as director Renny Harlin and lead actress Geena Davis were a couple at the time it was made. The movie did not do well at the time of its release but it has gained somewhat of a cult following since then.

“Cutthroat Island” follows the adventures of a female pirate named Morgan Adams (Geena Davis) and her slave Shaw (Matthew Modine). The two are on a quest to recover the three lost portions of a treasure map.

As luck will have it, the final and most important portion of the map is in the hands of Morgan’s villainous uncle, Dawg (Frank Langella). Her crew questions her leadership abilities and a mutiny seems imminent. Worse thing comes from the British crown who threatens to end her piratical raids.

“Cutthroat Island” is a movie that you can just watch with a big goofy grin on your face. Sure, it’s not a masterpiece of the genre but don’t disregard it totally. It’s entertaining as hell.


13. The Mummy 1-2 (Stephen Sommers, 1999 & 2001)

The Mummy

Land of mysteries and mummies, you’d expect Egypt to produce the perfect settings for a perfect treasure hunt and you wouldn’t be wrong. In the view of many, mummies and treasures go hand in hand.

The first Mummy series came out in the 1930’s and lasted until the early 50’s. Then, there was a Mummy series that ran during the 60’s. These two series were essentially horror movies and concentrated more on the shock effect. In the 1990’s, Stephen Sommers had the idea of toying with the story and eventually transforming it into an adventure film with horror elements. The films became box-office successes and suddenly archaeologists were once again cool.

Rumors are that The Mummy will be back soon.


14. Three Kings (David O. Russell, 1999)

Three Kings (1999)

“Three Kings” is a modern fable with a powerful anti-war message set during the 1991 Gulf War.

First off, the audience is introduced Major Archie Gates (George Clooney), a war disillusioned officer close to retirement, Sergeant Troy Barlow (Mark Wahlberg), an office worker with a family waiting for him at home, Staff Sergeant Chief Elgin (Ice Cube), a religious airport baggage handler and Private First Class Conrad Vig (Spike Jonze), a jobless, semi-literate soldier from a group home who idolizes Troy.

During a routine mission, they discover a map that leads to Saddam Hussein’s secret bunker which is supposed to be loaded with gold bullion. Filled with enthusiasm and with hopes of becoming rich men, the four set off to find the bunker and take the gold. But once they reach the village, they are faced with the harsh conditions.

Tragedy strikes and our heroes find themselves way over their heads. The title of the film refers to the ancient kings that were always on the lookout for riches, always searching for hidden treasures. But like any treasure, this one also comes with a cost which the kings may or may not be ready to pay.


15. Pirates of the Caribbean Series (Gore Verbinski, Rob Marshall – 2003, 2006, 2007 & 2011)

Pirates of The Caribbean The Curse of The Black Pearl

There are a couple of Hollywood blockbusters (Jaws, Jurassic Park etc.) that have inspired theme park rides across the U.S.. The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is exactly the other way around. The first movie was inspired from Disney’s theme park ride of the same name and it went on to become a Hollywood blockbuster. With four existing movies and on more on the way, “The Pirates of the Caribbean” is one of the most successful movie franchises in the world.

One of the main reasons for the franchise being so successful is Johnny Depp’s magnificent character captain Jack Sparrow, a quirky imperfect pirate that is a combination of Keith Richards and Pepe Le Pew. Needless to say that the main theme that drives the plot is the hunt for treasures.

Jack Sparrow, captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and all the other pirates that sail in the Caribbean sea are after the proverbial treasure that will ensure them all the riches they need.

In 2017, Pirates of the Caribbean will be back with “Dead Men Tell No Tales”.


16. National Treasure Series (Jon Turteltaub, 2004 & 2007)


If you like adventure films, then “National Treasure” and its sequel is definitely for you. When it came out, it was compared to “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”, which was released a year before. Both films are flawed, but “National Treasure” is definitely the winner in this unofficial competition.

The truth is that “National Treasure” resembles more with the adventures of Indiana Jones than that of Lara Croft. The adventures of historian Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage) has bare resemblance to the adventures of Indiana Jones, but in this film the treasure hunter must figure out all sorts of different clues in order to find the treasure.

We are convinced that this will be a trilogy so a third film is awaited.


17. The Da Vinci Code (Ron Howard, 2006)


Dan Brown’s novel “The Da Vinci Code” was a huge success, but it also caused a lot of controversy because of its subject. The novel explores an alternative religious history, whose central plot point is that the Merovingian kings of France were descended from the bloodline of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. Despite its conspiracy theme, the novel is very easy to follow and makes historical information accessible to the general public.

Like the novel, the movie version was also considered controversial. “The Da Vinci Code” received overwhelmingly negative review from the critics. However, this did little to hamper its box office performance and their appeal to the public. The central character of the movie is Professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) who seems to have a knack for uncovering history’s best kept secrets.

The third film of the franchise is planned for 2016.


18. The Adventures of Tintin (Steven Spielberg, 2011)

The Adventures of Tintin

Even in Spielberg’s films for grown-ups, the world of fantasy and make-believe plays a very important role, so adapting the popular comic book series “The Adventures of Tintin” came only natural to the acclaimed director.

It all begins with young Tintin buying a model ship called “The Unicorn”. A shady character named Sakharine (Daniel Craig) and later an American named Barnaby (Joe Starr) try to buy the model from him, but Tintin refuses.

The young boy discovers that the ship contains a clue about a hidden treasure, but before he can locate it, Tintin is kidnapped and given over to the custody of the drunken Capt. Haddock (Andy Serkis). With the help of two less-than-competent Interpol agents, Tintin, his faithful dog and the captain must prevent Sakharine from obtaining the final clues to the treasure’s exact location.

This film is a well-crafted adaptation and it shows great respect to the original material and adds what’s necessary to make it 100% appealing to audiences of all ages and tastes.


19. Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter (David Zellner, 2014)

Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

Fed up with her less-than-ordinary life, a Tokyo office worker named Kumiko (Rinko Kikuchi) becomes obsessed with the Coen Brothers’ movie “Fargo”. Her obsession goes as far as believing that the movie is a documentary. She travels to America, more specifically to North Dakota, to find the spot where the fictional treasure was buried. Her travelling reasons also have to do with the fact that Kumiko has become more and more aloof and isolated in her day-to-day life.

“Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter” is a bizarre, haunting, and dark comedy. It uses one troubled individual’s journey to point out everything that is wrong with modern society and to raise a question mark over the influence of television and movies on the fragile mind. Gorgeously shot and brilliantly performed, this polarizing film is an experience to behold. Its creeping pace will let down some movie fans, but ultimately there is more than enough here to make its duration worth your while.


20. Black Sea (Kevin Macdonald, 2014)

Black Sea

Very often, when we hear the word “treasure”, we imagine it buried at sea somewhere that no one will find it. Kevin Macdonald’s film feeds this common imagination with an adventure thriller that is made for all the treasure-hunting fans out there.

The movie tells the story of former naval office Robinson (Jude Law) who, after losing his job, assembles a crew of both Russian and British sailors to find a sunken Nazi U-Boat that is said to contain a hidden treasure. Captain Robinson’s crew is a band of misfits, men that have been defeated by life.

As Robinson and his crew go deeper and deeper underwater, the men’s fascination for what they might find also grows. Pretty soon, greed starts to take over the hearts and souls of the men and devilish plans start to spring in everyone’s mind. Their logic is simple: the fewer men that make it back alive, the more gold to go around.

To showcase that true underwater feeling, MacDonald filmed some scenes onboard an old Soviet submarine. We never have that feeling of the movie made on a Hollywood sound stage. Instead, we, as viewers, share the tight space and constant dread with those characters. This combination of characters, setting and mission deliver an intense thriller that is sure to please anyone whose has hope of finding a treasure someday.

Author Bio: Horia Nilescu is a 30-year-old cinephile from Brasov, Romania. He works at a local bookstore as a multimedia & events manager (handling supplying issues in regards to cd’s and dvd’s and also organizing local events). He is passionate about film and fascinated by its diversity. He has created a local film club in Brasov (going of 3 years) in which he handles all aspects. He likes to talk and write about movies but most importantly he likes to watch them.