National Treasure is a 2004 American action-adventure heist film released by Walt Disney Pictures. It was written by Jim Kouf and the Wibberleys, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and directed by Jon Turteltaub. It is the first film in the National Treasure franchise and stars Nicolas Cage in the lead role, Harvey Keitel, Jon Voight, Diane Kruger, Sean Bean, Justin Bartha and Christopher Plummer. In the film, Benjamin Franklin Gates, a historian, along with friend Riley Poole and archivist Abigail Chase, search for a massive lost Freemason treasure, to which a map is hidden on the back of the Declaration of Independence.
Benjamin Franklin Gates is an American historian, cryptographer, and treasure hunter. When Ben was young, his grandfather John told him that, in 1832, Charles Carroll passed on a secret to their ancestor of a fabled treasure hidden in America by the Knights Templar, Founding Fathers, and Freemasons. Carroll's secret was a clue leading to the treasure: the phrase "the secret lies with Charlotte". While Ben is convinced by the story, his skeptical father, Patrick, dismisses it as nonsense.