National Treasure April 9, 2003 Script Draft: Page #6


CUT TO - CLOSE ON a 12-year-old BOY'S FACE pressed against some glass. We WIDEN to see...

INT. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN MUSEUM - DAY

The BOY is looking through exhibit glass at a collection of Franklin inventions and artifacts: a glass armonica, a Franklin stove, and many hand-written LETTERS.

As the boy studies the letters, we notice some of Sadusky's team are here, eyeing the crowd.

INT. BEN FRANKLIN MUSEUM, OFFICE - DAY

The museum CURATOR stands with Sadusky and Agent Dawes. He studies a photocopy of Ben Gates drivers license picture.

SADUSKY
We're expecting him to come here--

CURATOR
--I'm afraid you must be mistaken.

The curator hands the photo back to Sadusky.

CURATOR (CONT'D)
The Gates Family donated many of
the Silence Dogood letters to us.

Sadusky and Agent Dawes exchange a curious look.
CURATOR (CONT'D)
Fascinating story how they came to
have them, in fact. Goes all the
way back to President Jackson...

INT. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN MUSEUM - DAY

The boy finally finishes reading the letters and exits.

EXT. 4TH STREET - DAY

The boy exits the museum, passing an ACTOR dressed like BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, spouting aphorisms to PASSERSBY. The boy crosses the cobblestone street and goes to...

RILEY. Sitting at a bus stop and working on a Gettysburg Times crossword puzzle. He looks up.

BOY
And.

RILEY
You sure? 4th letter, 22nd line--

BOY
--third word, "and."

RILEY
Good. Thanks.

Riley hands him $5, then jots down "and" under the numbers "4.22.3."

ON HIS CROSSWORD, we see Riley's written words under the corresponding codes from the Declaration. So far, it reads:

"The trove unfolds for
He who tolls pass and..."

EXT. INDEPENDENCE NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK - DAY

Another line of RED COATS falls to cannon fire...BOOM-BOOM! The crowd CHEERS, while Abigail grows increasingly anxious.

ABIGAIL
I can't take this anymore.

Ben watches the re-enactment.

BEN
I know. It's all wrong. We lost
this battle and every other in
Philadelphia...

Abigail regards him. That's not what she meant, but he continues on his tangent.

BEN (CONT'D)
...Most people don't realize that
George Washington was a rather poor
military tactician, and that it was
really Benedict Arnold who won the
war for us with his victory in the
Battle of Saratoga which finally
earned the Continental Army the
support of France.

Abigail just stares at Ben.

BEN (CONT'D)
What?

ABIGAIL
Nothing. I just thought I was the
only one obsessed with meaningless
historical trivia.

BEN
There's no such thing. Sometimes...

As he talks, Abigail spots something over his shoulder...

IAN and SHAW moving through the crowd toward them.

BEN (CONT'D)
...the littlest things matter the mos--

Without warning, Abigail grabs Ben and...PULLS him IN FOR A PASSIONATE KISS.

Ben's surprised but goes with it until Abigail just as suddenly pulls out of the kiss.

ABIGAIL
Ian's here.

She motions with her eyes, and Ben follows them to see IAN and SHAW pushing through the crowd.

BEN
He must've figured out what "Silence"
meant. Which means he's going to
the museum.

Ben moves to go, but Abigail grabs him.

ABIGAIL
I just want you to know that kiss
meant nothing. I was only doing it
to hide us.

BEN
History remembers what it wants to
remember.

With that, Ben and Abigail follow Ian and Shaw.

EXT. 4TH STREET - DAY

Crowded with TOURISTS. Ian and Shaw move through the throng. They come to the corner. Up ahead is the Ben Franklin Museum. In front, there are several FEDERAL AGENTS.

Ian stops, looks around, to across the street to where Riley is waiting.

Just then, however, a bus pulls up and stops right in front of Riley, blocking Ian's view.


EXT. 4TH STREET - DAY

As people climb on and off the bus, Riley stares at something on the side of the bus. He smiles to himself...

RILEY
I'm a genius.

We REVERSE to see what he was seeing...

CLOSE ON THE WORD "PASS" inscribed in iron. We PULL BACK A little to see "PASS AND STOW." Then, a little more to see the words are inscribed on the Liberty Bell in an ad...

...on the side of the bus which now pulls away. A beat, then Ian steps up with Shaw, but RILEY'S GONE. Ian looks around. See the trash can. On top, the crossword puzzle.

INT. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN MUSEUM - DAY

Sadusky and Agent Dawes exit the office. The other agents all signal him with, "Nothing yet."

Sadusky notices a WOMAN who looks like a prostitute reading the Dogood letters.

AGENT DAWES
I don't get it. Why would Gates
want to steal something the family
donated?

But Sadusky isn't listening. He pulls away from his team to follow the prostitute who is now leaving.

EXT. 4TH STREET - DAY

The prostitute crosses the street to the bus stop, but Riley's long gone. The prostitute looks around.

SADUSKY (O.S.)
Who're you looking for?

The prostitute sees the suit and immediately looks to run, but she's surrounded by the rest of Sadusky's team.

SADUSKY (CONT'D)
Whoa, you're not in trouble. We're
just looking for the same person
you are.

EXT. INDEPENDENCE NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK - DAY

SOLDIERS march to the beat of drums and fife commands. Smoke rises over the field from cannon and musket fire. Riley moves down a line of Continental Army tents, oblivious to the "melee" in the background.

RILEY
I'm a genius. I'm a genius!

Suddenly, someone grabs him and pulls him BETWEEN THE TENTS. Riley almost screams, then sees it's just Ben and Abigail.

BEN
Ian's here.

RILEY
Doesn't matter. I got it. "The
trove unfolds for he who tolls pass
and..." I didn't get the last word,
but I figured it ou--

BEN
--The Liberty Bell.

RILEY
How'd you know?

ABIGAIL
"Tolls Pass and Stow." It's obvious.

RILEY
Not that obvious.

EXT. 4TH STREET - DAY

The prostitute sits on the bench, surrounded by FBI.

PROSTITUTE
All I know is the guy didn't want
nothing for his money. Just a word.

SADUSKY
What word?

EXT. INDEPENDENCE NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK - DAY

Soldiers march forward, then stop. An actor playing GEORGE WASHINGTON rides a horse, commanding his troops...

GEORGE WASHINGTON
Fire!

The soldiers fire synchronized volleys. BOOM-BOOM-BOOM! The British ranks thin. The crowd goes wild.

EXT. 4TH STREET - DAY

Agent Johnson sits in a parked sedan. Sadusky and the others wait by the open car door as Agent Johnson works on a laptop.

AGENT JOHNSON
6,903 search hits for the words
"stow" and "Declaration of Indepen-
dence." The top results being
the Fourth of July and the Liberty Bell.

SADUSKY
The Liberty Bell?

AGENT JOHNSON
Two foundry workers named John Pass
and John Stow cast the bell.

SADUSKY
That's it. Let's go.

EXT. INDEPENDENCE NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK - DAY

Ian and Shaw move through the park.

SHAW
You're kidding, right?

IAN
I wish I were.

SHAW
You mean, we have to ring the Liberty
Bell?
!

INT. LIBERTY BELL PAVILION - DAY

Crowded with TOURISTS. A TOUR GUIDE stands next to the famous bell (which is enclosed in a glass display case).

TOUR GUIDE
...which hasn't been rung in over
150 years. It was in 1846 on George
Washington's birthday that the final
expansion of the crack occurred,
retiring the Liberty Bell
permanently.

EXT. LIBERTY BELL PAVILION - DAY

A long line of TOURISTS snakes across the park plaza. Sadusky and his team move through the crowded plaza.

SADUSKY
I want agents posted in the pavilion
and surrounding plaza. As of right
now, the Liberty Bell in under around-
the-clock guard.

AGENT COLFAX
What exactly do we think Gates is
planning?

SADUSKY
I don't know, but we already lost
one national treasure, I'll be damned
if we're going to lose another.

EXT. INDEPENDENCE HALL - DAY

Across the park from the new Liberty Bell Pavilion.

INT. INDEPENDENCE HALL, BELFRY - DAY

BOOM-BOOM-BOOM! A trap door in the belfry floor is smashed open with the butt of the rifle, and Ben, Abigail, and Riley climb up onto the belfry's platform.

From here, there is a panoramic view of Independence Park and Liberty Pavilion.

RILEY
The Liberty Bell is not here. It's
over there.

ABIGAIL
But the bell was here when the map
was written.

BEN
So, it must be rung from here.

Riley considers that, then...

RILEY
OK, then we simulate it. We get
the bell's exact size and metallurgic
composition and determine the tone
it made--

ABIGAIL
--E-flat.

RILEY
Perfect. We generate a church bell
e-flat note digital wave file, we
get a couple high excursion, low-
distortion speakers up here, and
plug our ears.

BEN
But what could ringing the bell
possibly do?

RILEY
Maybe some stone will magically
crumble away, finally revealing the
"X" that marks the spot.

Abigail looks to the street below, swarming with POLICE.

ABIGAIL
One thing's for certain, it'll
definitely alert everyone to our
presence.

Ben looks at her, realizing...

BEN
The man who rang the Liberty Bell
when the Declaration of Independence
was signed...who was he?

ABIGAIL
Andrew McNair. There used to be a
plaque commemorating him up here.

BEN
Find it.

They all three immediately get on their hands and knees and search the old belfry floor. A beat, then...

ABIGAIL
Here it is!

Ben hurries to her. Finds an old bronze plaque under layers of dirt. Ben rubs away the dirt with his hand.

CLOSE ON the plaque which is dedicated to:

"Andrew McNair
For tolling the bell on July 8, 1776
Proclaiming the signing of
The Declaration of Independence
--Member Lodge 43, Lancaster Pennsylvania--"

Ben reads the last line of the plaque.

BEN
"Member Lodge 43"
(looks up)
McNair was a Freemason.

Ben grabs the rifle and pries up the plaque with the bayonet.

ABIGAIL
What are you doing?!

BEN
"The trove unfolds for he who tolls
Pass and Stow." The cipher was
talking about McNair.

The plaque finally pops off. Underneath...a SMALL HOLE in the floorboards. Ben looks to them. They both see it.

RILEY
Jesus...

Ben sticks his hand into the hole. A beat, then Ben pulls out his hand. Turns it over. Opens his fist, revealing...A * PAIR OF OLD BIFOCALS.

Riley claps his hands together, happily.

RILEY (CONT'D)
OK! Super! It's been so worth it.
Can we talk about shares now? 'Cause
I really need a PAIR OF GLASSES!

BEN
Bifocals.

Abigail studies Ben, realizing...

ABIGAIL
Ben Franklin invented them.

RILEY
And I'm sure he's been looking for
this pair! Those Founding Fathers
and their fraternity pranks!

Riley mimics an old man's voice.

RILEY (CONT'D)                              BEN
"Let's hide old Ben's                               The map.
bifocals!"                              
(feigns laughter)                              ABIGAIL
"HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!"                              Here.


Abigail slips the Declaration out of the musket barrel, and they quickly unroll it as Riley continues his rant.

RILEY                              BEN
"And then, because we               The trove unfolds...
have NOTHING BETTER TO                              
DO, let's put a secret                              ABIGAIL
message on the back of                     ...means the treasure can
the Declaration of                              be seen...
Independence!"                                      

Ben dons the bifocals and looks at the Declaration.

ABIGAIL (CONT'D)
Well?

Ben takes off the glasses. Hands them to Abigail. She slips them on as Riley rattles on.

RILEY
"And let's crack the Liberty Bell
too!" "Hey, good idea! And FUNNY!"

Abigail looks at the Declaration. What she sees takes her breath away. Now, Riley notices the look on her face.

RILEY (CONT'D)
What?

Abigail stares at the Declaration as if in a trance.

RILEY (CONT'D)
What?

Abigail slowly looks to Ben in disbelief. He smiles big. Riley looks at them both, impatient...

RILEY (CONT'D)
What? Another riddle? What do
we have to do now? T.P. the White
House?!

Ben takes the glasses off of Abigail's face and hands them to Riley, who puts them on, and we go to his POV.

CLOSE ON THE BACK OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. As the lenses come into view...

The blank parchment comes alive! A 3-D image magically appears, rising out of the various shades of parchment colors, beiges and tans, in a prism, Magic-Eye effect...

An 18th CENTURY CHURCH and CEMETERY. An "X" marks a spot in the field of graves. The map is dated "August 17, 1776."

RILEY (CONT'D) (laughs excited)
I knew it! There it is! "X" marks
the spot!
That's what I've been
talking about!

Ben takes the bifocals from Riley. Studies the map again.

BEN
That's Trinity Church.

ABIGAIL
The original Trinity Church burned
down just two months after the Declaration of Independence was
signed.

BEN
I don't think that was a coincidence.

EXT. LIBERTY BELL PAVILION - DAY

Powell exits the pavilion and rejoins Ian and Shaw in the plaza. Right behind them is Independence Hall.

POWELL
They're not inside.

IAN
They're here somewhere.

Ian looks around, then realizes. He looks up to...

INT. INDEPENDENCE HALL, BELFRY - DAY

Abigail rolls up the Declaration and slips it into its cover. Just then, we hear someone coming up the steps.

RILEY
Someone's coming.

BEN looks down from the belfry just as IAN looks up from the plaza below. THEIR EYES CONNECT.

BEN
Ian.

Riley pulls open the trap door and sees POWELL sprinting up the stairs. Riley slams the trap door shut.

INT. INDEPENDENCE HALL, STAIRWELL - DAY

Powell tries to push open the belfry's trap door, but...

INT. INDEPENDENCE HALL, BELFRY - DAY

Riley's standing on the trap door. He yells to Ben...

RILEY
Go!

Ben and Abigail climb out of the belfry. Riley shoves the musket barrel through an iron ring latch on the trap door.

INT. INDEPENDENCE HALL, STAIRWELL - DAY

Powell shoots up at the trap door...BLAM-BLAM-BLAM!

INT. INDEPENDENCE HALL, BELFRY - DAY

Riley tap-dances as gunfire chews up the floorboards at his feet. WOOD SPLINTERS and POPS.

EXT. INDEPENDENCE HALL, CLOCK TOWER PARAPET - DAY

Ben and Abigail peer over the edge. It's a 20-foot drop to the roof. Ben looks around for other options. Abigail hands him the Declaration of Independence.

BEN
What're you doing?

ABIGAIL
I don't want to be responsible for
bending it!

With that, she turns and...JUMPS! She LANDS HARD on the rock and tarpaper roof below, then looks up to Ben, who's a little awe-struck by her.

He tosses the Declaration down to her, then jumps too.

CLOSE ON the iron latch as BOOM! Gunfire blows it out.

INT. INDEPENDENCE HALL, BELFRY - DAY

Powell bursts up through the trap door into the belfry, hurries to the edge, and sees Ben and Abigail below.

EXT. INDEPENDENCE HALL, ROOF - DAY

Ben grabs Abigail and lunges out of the way as the roof is raked with gunfire. They land hard on a slanted part of
the roof. The force knocks the Declaration of Independence from Abigail's grip.

Bullets POCK the shingles in their wake, barely missing the Declaration as it ROLLS...DOWN...THE...INCLINE.

INT. INDEPENDENCE HALL, BELFRY - DAY

Powell chases them with gunfire, when suddenly Riley KIPS DOWN from the outside the belfry's archway and...

KICKS POWELL in the FACE! Powell staggers back, then charges Riley, slamming him into the wall.

EXT. INDEPENDENCE HALL, ROOF - DAY

Ben and Abigail slide out of control down the incline. Ben gets a foothold. Throws out his hand, just catching THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE inches from the edge.

But Abigail isn't so lucky. She's out of his reach. She tumbles OFF THE LEDGE! She SCREAMS!

INT. INDEPENDENCE HALL, BELFRY - DAY

Powell whip-kicks Riley in the chin. He stumbles backwards. Falls through trap door, grabbing the lip with one hand. Powell scrambles out of the belfry.

EXT. INDEPENDENCE HALL, ROOF - DAY

Abigail's fingers grip the rain gutter. A three-story drop below her. Ben scrambles to the edge and peers over. From his vantage point, we have a nice, clear view of...

Abigail's cleavage. It's impossible not to notice. And it gives Ben pause. The rain gutter CREAKS, ready to give.

ABIGAIL
Um, how about a little help?

Ben looks back to see POWELL jump down from the clock tower.

BEN
No time.

Ben takes the Declaration of Independence...

BEN (CONT'D)
Hold this.

...And SHOVES it down into Abigail's bosom. She's aghast.

ABIGAIL
You can't--

BEN
--Whatever you do, don't bend it.

With that, Ben stands and SLAMS his foot down hard on the rain gutter which TEARS AWAY FROM THE BUILDING! Rivet by rivet, POP-POP-POP!

We FOLLOW ABIGAIL as she falls, jerking sharply each time a rivet tears away from the plaster. She holds on tight as the rain gutter swings down like a stiff copper vine...

TO INDEPENDENCE SQUARE. To her surprise, she lands softly.

EXT. INDEPENDENCE HALL, ROOF - DAY

Powell goes to the edge and sees Abigail getting away. He hurries to a roof access ladder, but BEN TACKLES him from behind and pins him to the ground.

Just then, we hear ABIGAIL SCREAM! Ben looks down to see Ian and Shaw throw ABIGAIL into a Corvette, then peel out.

Ben takes off sprinting, running the length of the roof in the direction of the Corvette.

POWELL gets up and takes off running after Ben.

RILEY clambers down from the clock tower and joins the chase.

BEN gets to the end of the roof. There is a gap between Independence Hall and Congress Hall. A big one. No time to debate it. Ben LAUNCHES HIMSELF across the gap...

EXT. CONGRESS HALL, ROOF - DAY

Ben lands hard, shoulder-rolls to his feet.

EXT. INDEPENDENCE HALL, ROOF - DAY

Powell follows suit. He LEAPS across the chasm...

...But lands short, his body slamming against the bricks, then falling to the plaza below.

Riley sees him fall, looks away, decides to take the stairs.

EXT. CONGRESS HALL, ROOF - DAY

Ben sprints across the roof. Looks down to see the CORVETTE in traffic. A TRUCK a few cars behind.

Ben FLINGS HIMSELF off the roof...and into a TREE. Lands on a branch. Which instantly BREAKS. Ben tumbles onto...

EXT. TRUCK, MOVING - DAY

The roof of the truck. THUNK!

INT. CORVETTE, MOVING - DAY

Ian drives. Abigail sits stiffly in the front passenger seat, Shaw's gun to the back of her head.

IAN
Where's the map?

ABIGAIL
It's called the Declaration of
Independence. And it's the reason
we kicked your ass in the war.

Ian sees the plastic sticking up from Abigail's blouse and reaches for it, but Abigail GRABS HIS WRIST.

IAN
Ah-ah-ah! Mustn't wrinkle it.

She relents, and Ian slips the document out of her bosom.

IAN (CONT'D)
Consider this reparation.

EXT. TRUCK, MOVING - DAY

Ben crouches like a rodeo rider as the truck pulls alongside the Corvette. Ben lunges...

EXT. CORVETTE, MOVING - DAY

Ben lands on top of the Corvette...THUNK!

INT. CORVETTE, MOVING - DAY

Ian and Shaw hear the clatter overhead. Ian pulls a gun from under his seat and FIRES up into the car's roof!

EXT. CORVETTE, MOVING - DAY

Ben rolls aside as the car's roof is ripped up by gunfire.

INT. CORVETTE, MOVING - DAY

Abigail grabs Ian's arm and struggles with him. Ian can't drive, shoot Ben, and fight her at the same time.

EXT. CORVETTE, MOVING - DAY

Ben barely manages to hang on as the car spins sideways across traffic, then CRASHES into the side of another car.

EXT. LIBERTY BELL PLAZA - DAY

Sadusky hears, then sees the mayhem in the adjacent street.

SADUSKY
Get people over there now!

Agent Dawes gets on her radio as they all start sprinting toward 5th Street.

EXT. 5TH STREET - DAY

SADUSKY and AGENT DAWES push through panicked TOURISTS, see the Corvette speeding through traffic with Ben clinging to the roof. Is it him? Sadusky calls out...

SADUSKY
GATES!

Ben turns. Their eyes meet. Sadusky gets a good look; it's his man. Sadusky pulls out his gun, has a clean shot...

As the Corvette slaloms traffic, Sadusky follows him with his gun. An easy target. His finger tightens on the trigger...but...he...just...can't...do...it.

The Corvette disappears around a building. Sadusky lowers his gun, mad at himself.

SADUSKY (CONT'D)
Shit.

EXT. INDEPENDENCE NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK - DAY

The Corvette SLAMS over the curb, sending screaming PEOPLE ducking and diving out of the way. The Corvette speeds toward...

A LINE OF RED COATS. Soldiers scatter, parting like the Red Sea. HORSES buck and BOLT!

INT. CORVETTE, MOVING - DAY

Ian navigates through the battle. Suddenly, Ben reaches in through the open window and grabs the Declaration of Independence from him.

Ian fights it, but Abigail BITES HIS ARM! Ian smacks her, then whips the wheel...

EXT. INDEPENDENCE NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK - DAY

...Sending Ben flying off the top of the Corvette. We FOLLOW BEN who SLAMS onto the grass. Losing the
Declaration of Independence which...

...ROLLS AWAY down a grassy hill.

Ben gets to his feet, stunned. Realizes he's lost the document which...

...ROLLS into the path of...

A GROUP OF OFFICERS ON HORSEBACK.

We FOLLOW the DECLARATION as it rolls through the sea of hooves...SLAMMING...DOWN...ALL...AROUND...IT!

It finally stops rolling right in front of a BRITISH OFFICER ON HORSEBACK who tries to calm his panicked horse.

Ben charges into the stampede.

INT. CORVETTE, MOVING - DAY

Ian sees the Ben going for the Declaration of Independence, and he GUNS the Corvette right toward Ben and the horse.

EXT. INDEPENDENCE NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK - DAY

The Corvette's ENGINE SCREAMS. Ben DIVES one way. The horse rears back the other way, launching the BRITISH OFFICER skyward. The Corvette skids up between Ben and the Declaration of Independence. The driver's side door pops open, and Ian scoops up the Declaration of Independence.







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