The 15 Best Treasure Hunt Movies

The ‘X’ marks the spot of the buried treasure. This is a concept that has inspired and thrilled the minds of audiences for generations. From the old stories like Treasure Island to more modern takes on similar adventures, treasure hunting has always been an entertaining concept for a story.

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There are countless movies that have told these kinds of stories in a variety of ways. Some go for pure adventure while others tell darker tales. When done well, these kinds of movies can be a blast for audiences of all ages. Here are the best treasure hunt movies that everyone should see.


Updated on February 6th, 2022 by Colin McCormick: Given how long the treasure hunting stories have been around, it is perhaps not surprising how many movies there have been on the subject. Some of the biggest stars in Hollywood history have found themselves in this genre and some truly iconic movie characters have grown out of these stories.

With thrills, humor, and tales of riches beyond imagining, the best treasure hunt movies offer so much fun for fans and they can check out many of them on various streaming services to get carried away in these adventures.

Aladdin (1992)

aladdin in front of the Cave of Wonders
  • Available to stream on Disney+

One of the greatest Disney animated movies of all time, Aladdin tells the story of the titular young man living on the streets who is given the chance with a princess when he comes across a magical lamp and a wild genie inside.

While the treasure hunt for the lamp is only a small part in the movie’s first half, it makes for one of the best sequences. As Aladdin ventures inside the mysterious Cave of Wonders, he encounters endless treasures and dangers which leads to an epic escape sequence as the cave turns against him.

The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

  • Available to rent on Apple TV

The amazing filmmaking duo of Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson teamed up for the motion-capture adventure, Tintin. Bringing the beloved French cartoon character to life, the movie follows Tintin and his companions as they search for a lost treasure from an old pirate ship.

While the animation style might not be for everyone, it is fun to see Spielberg use the format to tell a story that would be very much at home in the Indian Jones franchise. The Adventures of Tintin was meant to kick off a series of its own and fans are still awaiting the next chapter.

The Jungle Book (1994)

Mowgli looking intense in Jungle Book 1994
  • Available to rent on Apple TV

The story of The Jungle Book has been adapted into many different versions over the years, but perhaps the most underrated one was this live-action adventure from director Stephen Sommers. Jason Scott Lee stars as an adult Mowgli who is brought out of the jungle and introduced to human society. However, he is soon used by ruthless mercenaries to find a hidden treasure in the heart of the jungle.

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Though not as iconic as the children’s cartoon, this version of The Jungle Book is still a surprisingly fun and thrilling adventure.

The Rundown (2003)

  • Available to stream on Peacock Premium

Before he became one of the biggest movie stars in the world, The Rundown helped to prove to Hollywood that Dwayne Johnson could carry a movie. The action-comedy finds Johnson playing a kind-hearted bounty hunter who tracks down a target to Brazil where he is drawn into a dangerous hunt for a local treasure.

Johnson pulls off the action hero role with ease but is also funny and charming. The movie also features some inventive and wild fight scenes that really make it stand out.

The Mummy (1999)

Rick, Evie and Jonathan in the desert: The Mummy 1999
  • Available to stream on HBO, HBO Max, DIRECTV, and Spectrum on Demand

Before remaking Universal monster movies was a big trend, The Mummy delivered a hugely entertaining adventure movie with the right mix of horror. Brendan Fraser stars as an adventurer who is brought along on an expedition to uncover an ancient Egyptian treasure which inadvertently releases a powerful and evil mummy.

The movie is an excellent popcorn movie, filled with thrills and action as well as an effective villain. Fraser also helps to carry the movie with his action hero role with just the right amount of goofy charm.

National Treasure (2004)

  • Available to stream on Disney+

Nicolas Cage stars in National Treasure, a modern Indiana Jones-type adventure as a historian who seeks a treasure that was hidden during the early days of the founding of America. He must battle mercenaries and authorities to uncover the map which is hidden on the back of the Declaration of Independence.

The movie is a fun mix of American history with a solid action-adventure narrative. It also boats an impressive cast which includes Sean Bean, Jon Voight, and Christopher Plummer. It is pure popcorn entertainment and delivers on its fun premise.

Romancing The Stone (1984)

  • Available to stream on HBO, HBO Max, Max Go, DIRECTV, and Spectrum on Demand

Romancing the Stone cleverly creates a thrilling treasure hunt story inside of a romantic comedy. Kathleen Turner stars as a timid romance novelist who travels to Columbia to find her kidnapped sister. Along the way, she teams with a roguish adventurer (Michael Douglas) who is seeking a hidden fortune.

Turner and Douglas have sparkling chemistry as two people who can’t seem to choose between falling in love and hating each other. There is also a wonderful comedic turn by Danny DeVito as a slimy criminal after the same treasure.

It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)

A still from 1963 comedy ensemble movie It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World
  • Available to stream on Roku, Hoopla, Tubi, Kanopy, and Pluto TV

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World takes a zany and broad comedic approach to the treasure hunt story with fantastic results. The film follows a group of motorists who hear a rumor of where a master thief has hidden his fortune and they all make a mad dash to beat each other to the loot.

The movie has an all-star cast including Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, and Mickey Rooney as well as endless amazing cameos. It is a wild and thrilling slapstick comedy with some truly amazing stunts. It all comes together in a hilarious romp.

Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (1989)

  • Available to rent on Apple TV

The third Indiana Jones film follows the great tradition of the franchise delivering thrilling and epic treasure hunting fun. This time around, Indy is joined by his father (Sean Connery) as they battle the Nazis once again to find the legendary Holy Grail which is said to grant immortality.

Steven Spielberg proves yet again that he can craft amazing action set pieces better than anyone. The movie is a non-stop ride filled with excitement, humor, and scares. Harrison Ford is as good as ever and Connery makes for a wonderful addition to the adventure.

Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl (2003)

Captain Jack Sparrow standing at the mast of his ship in Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Available to stream on Disney+

Pirate movies had long been out of fashion before the swashbuckling Disney adventure Pirates of the Caribbean proved there was still a lot of fun to be had with the genre. Johnny Depp stars as Captain Jack Sparrow, an eccentric pirate who seeks to regain control of his old ship whose crew has been cursed by a forbidden treasure.

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The action is epic while the story is genuinely interesting. However, Depp is the real reason the movie works so well as his unhinged performance adds so much humor and fun to the adventure.

Three Kings (1999)

Ice Cube Mark Whalberg and George Clooney in Three Kings
  • Available to stream on Hoopla

Three Kings takes a more modern approach to the treasure hunting story which makes for a unique and interesting film. David O. Russell’s war film follows a small group of soldiers at the end of the Gulf War who devise a plan to steal gold from one of Saddam Hussein’s bunkers.

George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube make for great leads and the movie balances a variety of tones very effectively. You’ll be thrilled by the action, laughing with the humor, and captivated by the drama all at once.

The Goonies (1985)

  • Available to stream on HBO Max

The idea of searching for buried treasure is something every kid has dreamed about at one point or another. The Goonies brings that youthful feeling of adventure to the big screen with this classic family-friendly story.

The story follows a group of misfit kids who find a map to an ancient pirates’ treasure and set out to find it. The movie is a fun, funny, and heartwarming story of friendship wrapped inside a treasure hunting story.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly (1966)

The Good The Bad And The Ugly
  • Available to stream on Prime Video, Hoopla, and Kanopy

This Sergio Leone masterpiece is not just one of the greatest Spaghetti Westerns ever made, but it is also a great Western take on the treasure hunt story. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly stars Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach as the three titular characters who cross paths while searching for a confederate treasure said to be buried in a graveyard.

The film is beautiful to look at and each of the actors is pitch-perfect in their roles. There are so many iconic sequences as well as the stunning soundtrack. It is an epic action-adventure across America as it is torn apart by the Civil War.

The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre (1948)

  • Available to stream on Apple TV

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is another Western take on this kind of story as well as a cautionary tale about greed and wealth. The John Huston film follows two Americans searching for work in Mexico who partner with an old prospector to mine for gold in the mountains.

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The movie is an interesting and captivating look at the enormous risks these men have to go through to find their fortune and the effect it all begins to have on them.

Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)

Raiders Of The Lost Ark
  • Available to stream on Apple TV

It’s hard to even think about treasure hunting without picturing Indiana Jones in his iconic fedora. He might not have been the first hero to seek long-lost fortunes, but it’s hard to find a character who did it better.

Indy’s first adventure remains his best as he teams up with his old flame (Karen Allen) to search for the biblical Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis can use it to unleash its awesome power. Harrison Ford makes for a legendary hero and Steve Spielberg crafts a throwback adventure filled with thrills, laughs, and fun.

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