Have you ever been stricken with the inexplicable urge to go treasure hunting after certain movies? Ever felt yourself imagining that somewhere, maybe in a cave, or a sunken ship, or at the end of a hidden passageway of some ancient palace, there is a giant pile of gold and jewels large enough to dive into like Scrooge McDuck (Or, more recently, Oscar “Oz” Diggs in Oz the Great and Powerful)?
It’s ok to admit it. We all have.
Here’s a list of the most dazzling treasure rooms Hollywood – and British Hollywood! – has ever created:
Honorable Mention: The Road to El Dorado (2000) and National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets (2007)
While they don’t technically count as rooms, the golden cities of El Dorado and Cibola (respectively) deserve a small, if not official, place on this list. It is quite the undertaking to build just about anything using soft metals, so due credit must be given. And visually, they were both pretty spectacular.
The quality of the films… ehhh that’s another thing entirely.
10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
Most would probably not think of the Lestrange Vault as an official treasure room – perhaps because looting is not the ultimate objective for the protagonists, or because the word “treasure” is not used, or because the whole experience is *REALLY* unsatisfying – but you have to admit: it’s a big room full of shiny, old, expensive-looking pretty things accumulated over, one can only assume, several lifetimes. So it counts.
Plus, it magically multiplies, which is both a wonderful way to maintain finances AND a handy security feature!
9. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Perhaps the least colorful of all the treasure rooms, the Bellagio vault needs a spot on the list if for no other reason than because audiences everywhere can remember how they felt the first time Yen almost missed his jump, the first time his hand bandages got stuck, and the first time a SWAT team walked unchallenged out of a Vegas casino with millions of dollars in hand. It’s a great feeling, and a “treasure room” that will never be forgotten.
8. The Goonies (1985)
Here begins the list of pirate treasure rooms, since movie pirates seem to be the best at hoarding unreasonable amounts of gold without spending it. Like dragon-goblin investment bankers with higher moral standards. Like with the Ocean’s Eleven example, I think audiences of all ages can remember how it felt when the Goonies found One-Eyed Willy’s treasure – perhaps the greatest penis metaphor in film – and didn’t have to leave the Goondocks!! Ah, such happy nostalgia!
That being said, the total haul itself was, comparatively, pretty pathetic. Hence the low ranking.
7. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
La Isla de Muerta! (Before it “went all pear-shaped!”) EPIC PIRATE TREASURE GOODNESS. When you think of pirate treasure, you have to be thinking of some dank cave filled with piles and piles of treasure, scattered randomly like landmines, and teeming with chalices and crowns and coins and fine jewelry. Jerry Bruckheimer delivered.
6. The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)
The movie kinda flopped, but the treasure room is admittedly fabulous. Almost makes me want to watch it.
5. Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
Imagine you’re a swindling magician from the cornfields of nowhere, and all of a sudden you’re in a technicolor land where despite the random animal attacks, people are super nice, some are basically even willing to worship you, and a bunch of ridiculously gorgeous women start offering you more money than you knew existed. And also a kingdom. I think, at that point, it’s acceptable to jump into your gigantic swimming pool of money, because clearly ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
4. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
The Dwarven Forge. Ah, the dwarves! That scene at the very beginning where it shows them mining and crafting, and measuring bits of precious gems, the gold flowing through the rock and the Arkenstone… You just KNOW those guys have to have a magnificent treasure room somewhere. A conclusion that was clearly also reached by Smaug, whose terrifying eyeball can be seen at the end of this panning shot.
People forget that The Hobbit is virtually a treasure hunt. Remember: “We must away, ere break of day, to find our old, forgotten gold.” I can’t blame them; there seems to be a lot.
3. Treasure Planet (2002)
Ok, I know some are going to disagree with me here, but hear me out. Aside from the extremely distracting animation (they were trying to be clever by mixing a bunch of different techniques, and it just came out looking sloppy) the story is actually pretty great!! Plus, with a cast of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emma Thompson, Niles from Frasier (David Hyde Pierce), Martin Short and some other people, it’s really not that bad.
Oh, right! And also, the treasure room is AMAZING. It’s not just what you see above; in fact, the ENTIRE CORE of the planet is the treasure room:
Come on. That’s cool.
2. National Treasure (2004)
The Templar Treasure in National Treasure is actually based on several real legends surrounding the knights templar, combined with legends surrounding the freemasons and the founding of America. Hidden thousands of feet beneath the Trinity Church in Manhattan, centuries of acquired wealth and knowledge (“Scrolls! From the Library at Alexandria!”) lay waiting in dust and darkness before intrepid explorer Benjamin Franklin Gates, aided by his band of old guy, young guy, and German chick, stumble onto it in search of an exit… and hopefully also treasure. This is by far one of the most epic treasure scenes ever, so again, if you want to make a big room filled with lots of loot, go to Bruckheimer, apparently. The guy knows what he’s doing.
The only reason it doesn’t take the top spot is because, well…
1. Aladdin (1992)
The Cave of Wonders is hard to beat. In fact, I don’t think it can be done. Not only does it SPEAK AUTONOMOUSLY WTF, but within its… scary, unstable, sand-hewn walls, it conceals some of the greatest magical gadgets ever. Starting with a magic carpet and ending with a genie. Because, let’s be honest, after you have a genie, you really don’t need anything else.
And the security is top notch on this bad boy, since it tends to simply eat anyone who upsets the big, golden, ruby-loving gorilla. Or anything else.
Touch nothing but the lamp.
– THE DUEL CITIZEN