National Treasure April 9, 2003 Script Draft: Page #8


A BAYONETED RIFLE SWINGS out of the ceiling like a pendulum attached to a skeleton's arm, and...

...STABS SHAW in the chest!

The group turns and sees Shaw as he staggers back with the rifle stuck in his chest. Ben goes to help him, but Shaw crashes into...

The dirt wall behind him which caves in under his weight. Shaw falls through the hole in the wall, screaming all the way down. Which sounds like a long way down.

The group rushes to the hole in the wall and shine their lights into it, revealing...

A DEEP, NARROW SHAFT in the wall. In the shaft, there hangs two heavy chains with weights attached.

IAN (CONT'D)
Well, that was fortunate, now wasn't
it?

Ben reaches into the shaft and adjusts the weights on the chains. The chains CREAK as an ancient WOODEN BOX descends into view from higher in the shaft.

Ben and Abigail exchange a look.

ABIGAIL
It looks like an elevator.

Ben and Riley pry open the door on the box, and a MILLION RATS and COCKROACHES pour out from the elevator cab! They all gulp, staring at the vermin. A beat, then...

RILEY
I hate elevators.

Ben steps inside. The elevator CREAKS and GROANS but holds.

BEN
Come on.

They all step in. MORE CREAKING. Ben adjusts the weights again and the cab descends.

EXT./INT. TRINITY CHURCH, VARIOUS - NIGHT

Sadusky's team sweep the church and surrounding grounds.

EXT. TRINITY CHURCH GRAVEYARD - NIGHT

Sadusky is here, kneeling in the dirt next to the crypt. * He picks up a piece of the broken Meerschaum pipe and * examines them. Agent Dawes approaches.

AGENT DAWES
Got a positive ID from the Reverend.
They were here.

But Sadusky isn't listening. He looks to the crypt and notices that the edges of the stone have recently been disturbed. The ivy overgrowth has also been torn away.

AGENT DAWES (CONT'D)
What is it?

Sadusky tries to lift the crypt's stone lid to no avail.

AGENT DAWES (CONT'D)
There's no moving that. It's got
to weigh a ton.

Sadusky looks at Agent Dawes and realizes she's right.

SADUSKY
I want sonar here on the double.
And bring in a jackhammer!

INT. UNDERGROUND ELEVATOR CAGE - NIGHT

All eyes look around, warily as the cab descends creakily into depths unknown. Deeper...deeper still...

RILEY
I just want to point our that there
are no buttons on the panel. In
fact, there is no panel. How's this
thing going to take us back up?

BEN
It's a one-way elevator.

RILEY
Then, it's not an elevator, is it?
Because it doesn't elevate.

Suddenly, the cab STOPS. They've hit something. WATER rushes in at their feet, filling the cab up to their ankles.

Riley and Ian pull open the wooden elevator door, and more water RUSHES IN...

INT. UNDERGROUND CATACOMBS, ANTECHAMBER - NIGHT

They shine their lights into the room. The chamber is circular, and there is a STONE PLATFORM in the center. Three 14th Century SWORDS jut out of the stone platform in a crisscross formation.

BEN
Templar Swords.

Ian moves to the platform, followed by Ben and Abigail.

Riley slogs out last. He steps something which CRUNCHES under his foot. Riley looks down to find...

...a SKELETON.

RILEY
I knew it.
(sing-song)
It's a trap.

Riley starts searching the walls for a way out while Ian, Ben, and Abigail study the swords.

ABIGAIL
What do they mean?

Ian reaches for one of the swords.

BEN
Ian, I wouldn't--

But Ian does anyway. He pulls out the center sword. We immediately hear the RUSHING SOUND OF WATER. Everyone looks around. The sound is all around them.

RILEY
What's that?

But Ian doesn't care. He just studies the sword. Riley continues feeling the walls but can find no exit.

RILEY (CONT'D)
How're we supposed to get out of
here?

BEN
Look at this.

Ben shines his light on the side of the platform to see a bas relief a SNAKE CUT INTO PIECES carved into the stone.

Abigail immediately recognizes the severed snake symbol.

ABIGAIL
"Join or die."

RILEY
I say we join.

Ben kneels down to study a STONE SLOT in a CIRCULAR STONE at a vertex of a triangle etched into the floor.

BEN
When we were at war with France,
Ben Franklin drew a political cartoon
of a snake cut into eight pieces,
representing the eight colonies at
the time. The cartoon called the
colonies to "Join or Die."

The sound of the rushing water intensifies as Ben notices two more slots in the floor at the triangle's other vertices.

RILEY
But what does that mean?

Now, the sound of the RUSHING WATER builds to a CRESCENDO, and suddenly, WATER VOMITS into the chamber from several ancient drains in the walls near the ceiling.

The force of the thundering cascade knocks all of them off their feet, Ian drops his sword, but more importantly...

...HE DROPS THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE INTO THE WATER!

Water also pours into the chamber from the elevator shaft. Before anyone can react, the chamber is already filled up to their chests.

Abigail and Ben both see the Declaration of Independence in its tube bobbing around in the churning water.

Ben frantically swims to it, but it slips away...just out of his reach.

ABIGAIL
I got it!

The tube floats to Abigail. She scoops it out of the water, then holds it over her head as the water swirls around her.

The chamber is filling quickly, and it's now mostly dark, except for the faint glow of the submerged flashlights.

Everyone claws at the walls, finding no purchase in the smooth stone. Ben calls over the din of the rushing water.

BEN
Listen! We have to work together!
"Join or die."

RILEY
How?!

BEN
There is a triangle carved into the
floor! At each vertex, there is a
slot! We must get the swords, then
each of us must stick them in the
slots and turn the swords! All of
us, together!

Riley regards Ben for a long beat, then...

RILEY
Are you out of your mind?!

Ben answers by disappearing under the water's surface.

Riley and Abigail exchange a look. Then, Riley looks up. The flat stone ceiling is only a few feet overhead now. They'll soon be drowned. Riley takes a deep breath, then dives down.

UNDERWATER. Ben dives down to the platform. The two remaining SWORDS are still sticking up out of it. He grabs one. Riley swims up behind him and grabs the other. They both then kick back toward the surface.

IN THE CHAMBER. Ben and Riley resurface with the swords, gasping for breath. Ben hands Ian the sword.

BEN
Find the slot! At the triangle's
vertex.

The stone walls suddenly GROAN under the tons of pressure.

BEN (CONT'D)
Go!

All three disappear underwater, leaving Abigail, holding the Declaration up high, but the water is rising rapidly.

EXT. TRINITY CHURCH GRAVEYARD - NIGHT

WORKERS finally jackhammer through the crypt wall, and Sadusky peers inside.

INT. UNDERGROUND CATACOMBS, ANTECHAMBER - NIGHT

Abigail still holds the Declaration of Independence above her head, but there is less than a foot of space left now.

UNDERWATER. Riley and Ian dive down, feel the floor, find edges of the triangle, and follow them. BEN also feels the floor, searching for the sword...

IN THE CHAMBER. Only inches of space left now. Abigail presses the Declaration of Independence and her face against the ceiling in the cramped pocket of air.

UNDERWATER. Ian follows his edge. Finds the vertex slot. Shoves his sword into it. Turns it.

RILEY finds his vertex and does the same.

BEN finally finds the sword.

IN THE CHAMBER. Abigail and the Declaration of Independence are now completely submerged. There is no air pocket anymore.

UNDERWATER. Ben finds the third vertex, plunges the sword into the slot and...

...TURNS IT.

ON ABIGAIL. Suddenly, the chamber ceiling RUMBLES as the heavy stone ceiling slabs START SLIDING APART!

CUT TO - PITCH BACK. We hear the SCRAPING SOUND of the stone floor rolling open. As it does, the faintest glimmer of light peeks up from the submerged flashlights below.

A beat, then Abigail's hand POKES UP THROUGH THE CRACK in the floor, holding the Declaration of Independence.

She tosses it aside onto the dry floor, then pulls herself up through the opening.

Ian pulls himself up through the floor next, then rolls aside, gasping for air in a soggy heap.

INT. UNDERGROUND CATACOMBS, OSSUARY - NIGHT

Sadusky and his team sprint down the passageway and come to the grave room. Only now, the elevator shaft is COMPLETELY FLOODED.

The elevator chains disappear into a pool of water which spills into the ossuary.

SADUSKY
There's got to be another way down.
Find it!

INT. UNDERGROUND TREASURE CHAMBER - NIGHT

The water gurgles up through the widening crack in the floor. Abigail waits by it. A beat, then Riley surfaces, coughing.

ABIGAIL
Where's Ben?

Ian catches his breath, then peers into the darkness. In the near distance, we can see something...GLIMMERING.

Suddenly, the floor starts rumbling closed again. Panicked, Abigail calls out...

ABIGAIL (CONT'D)
Ben! Ben!

Ian picks up the Declaration of Independence which lies on the stone floor near him.

Just then, Ben comes up, gasping for air, choking on swallowed water, but... holding a flashlight.

BEN
(between coughs)
I thought we might need this.

The flashlight beam cuts through the darkness. We catch glimpses of pillars, statues, stone steps...

RILEY
Is that...?

The beam of light stops on something very shiny... It's a three-tiered bronze-gilded altar. The very sight of it makes Abigail gasp. Ian stares at it, mesmerized...

IAN
"...An altar of bronze, twenty cubits
long and twenty cubits wide..."
Second Book of Chronicles.

Ian and Ben exchange knowing looks.

BEN
Stolen from the Temple of Solomon
in the 5th Century B.C.

The group moves to the altar where they find candles and torches. They quickly light them, then turn to see...

THE TREASURE CHAMBER.

Dozens of marble Doric and Corinthian columns line the walls of the cavernous chamber filled with ancient treasures...

Crown jewels, gold and silver plates and chalices, gilded cherubim, olivewood furniture, carriages, loot from the Oracle of Delphi, and countless sacred artifacts.

ABIGAIL
This is what it must have been like
to find King Tut's Tomb.

RILEY
Don't say that. Those guys were
cursed.

Ian starts moving through the chamber, in awe of its treasures. But Ben doesn't move. He just stands there.

BEN
We'll be taking the Declaration of
Independence now, Ian.

Ian finds a chest, opens it...it's filled with ancient Greek and Roman coins.

IAN
Oh come on, Ben. Have some fun.

Ian moves past the chest, and Riley can't help himself. He goes to it, sticks his hand in it, and comes up with a handful of coins. He laughs, incredulous.

BEN
A deal's a deal, Ian.

But Ian isn't listening. He's found another ANCIENT SWORD, only this one is different...special.

Its silver handle is decorated with images of scythed chariots engaged in battle and the famous Macedonian King.

Riley steps up behind Ian. He sees the sword.

RILEY
Cool gothic sword.

IAN
It's not just any sword...

Ian picks it up. It's heavy. Weighs more than 30 pounds.

IAN (CONT'D)
...It's the sword of Alexander the
Great...

As Ian holds up the sword, we notice that it almost GLISTENS with an ethereal power.

IAN (CONT'D)
...It was used to conquer the world.

Without warning, Ian swings the sword backwards under his arm in a rowing motion and...

...Plunges it into RILEY'S STOMACH!

Riley staggers back, stunned. Then, he collapses.

Shocked and horrified, Ben and Abigail rush to Riley. He's bleeding. Badly.

BEN
Riley. Oh, Jesus...

Ben takes off his shirt. Balls it up. Presses it on Riley's wound. Abigail helps Ben hold it there. Riley looks up to
Ben. He knows it's bad. He grimaces in agony.

RILEY
At least I was rich before I died.

With that, Ian swings his sword at Ben who just barely rolls out of the way it time. The sword hits the stone floor
with a loud CLANK, taking out divot of stone.

IAN
You couldn't just want the treasure
now, could you, Ben?

Ian swings again, but Ben grabs a bronze plate and blocks the blow. SPARKS fly as the plate shatters.

IAN (CONT'D)
You couldn't just be reasonable and
argue with me over shares. I say,
"How about 70-30?" And then you
say, "How about 60-40?" And then I
say, "What about 80-20?"

Ben scrambles to his feet, and Ian chases him.

IAN (CONT'D)
No, you have to go and be all noble.

He swings the sword at Ben again, but Ben dives behind a suit of armor which Ian SMASHES with his sword.

Ben goes down with the medieval suit which clatters to the ground. Ben shoulder-rolls to his feet and comes up with a sword of his own.

They face off. En Guard! They circle each other.

IAN (CONT'D)
I don't trust honest men.

Ian strikes. Ben parries. Their swords cross with a loud CLANK. They push off each other, and then the duel begins in earnest.

Actually, it's more like two guys fighting a bar fight with heavy swords. Neither is trained in fencing, but neither is about to give up first.

They exchange blows in an exhausting Rob Roy-esque sword fight. Ian attacks. Ben parries and simultaneously delivers a brutal kick to Ian's ribs, staggering Ian.

The Declaration of Independence falls to the ground and rolls away, down some stone steps...

Angered, Ian winds up. Strikes a vicious blow. Ben deflects it with his sword which breaks in half. The other half clanks to the ground.

ON ABIGAIL. She's applying pressure to Riley's wound. She sees the Declaration of Independence rolling toward a slatted drain in the floor...

She grabs Riley's hands and puts them on the now bloody, balled up shirt.

ABIGAIL
Apply pressure.

Riley weakly holds onto the field dressing as...

Abigail hurries to the still rolling Declaration of Independence which is almost to the drain.

Abigail DIVES FOR IT...but just misses it. The Declaration of Independence slips through the slats and DISAPPEARS DOWN THE DRAIN!!!

ON IAN and BEN. Ian swings. Ben ducks and dodges, but Ian's sword catches pieces of him. Slices into Ben's shoulder. And his chest.

ON ABIGAIL. She sticks her hand into the drain...

INSIDE THE DRAIN. The Declaration of Independence is stuck way down deep in the drain where the drain narrows.

Abigail's hand reaches down for the tube, but it's...just... out...of...reach.

ON BEN and IAN. Bloodied, Ben hurls the broken sword at Ian who deflects it and charges Ben.

Ben scrambles over the treasure pile, improvising, grabbing whatever he can to parry Ian's blows. A chalice...CLANK!
An urn...which shatters!

Ben grabs an alabaster cherubim. He holds it up to deflect a blow, but notices that it's just too beautiful to ruin. Ben sets it back down, then dives behind a PILLAR just as...

Ian swings again, striking the pillar instead...WHAM! Chunks of marble fly.

Ian circles around the pillar, chasing the wounded Ben with his sword. Ian swings, and Ben ducks. This time, Ian's sword gets STUCK in the pillar.

As Ian tries to extricate it...

Ben pushes a Greek limestone statue. But it's heavy. It teeters...finally tips.

Ian turns just in time to see the statue about to crush him. CRASH!

But it doesn't crush Ian. The statue instead crashes into the pillar, leaving just enough space to save Ian.

Ian grabs the sword, yanks it out...

Bad idea. The pillar gives way, and the statue finishes its fall, smashing down on Ian. Killing him instantly.

And tearing a hole in the stone wall behind him. Water GUSHES IN from the hole. It's the elevator shaft.

As the water rushes in, the whole treasure chamber begins to rumble. Pieces of the stone ceiling start to fall, crashing down all around.

Ben looks to see Abigail still struggling with the drain.

ON ABIGAIL. She's got her whole arm in the drain but she still can't reach the Declaration of Independence. Rocks and debris rains down all around her.

BEN (O.S.)
Look out!

Abigail pulls her hand out of the drain. Turns to see Ben holding the Sword of Alexander up high. He swings it down, SMASHING the drain open.

Abigail quickly reaches in and pulls out the Declaration of Independence.

They hurry to Riley. Everything is shaking, falling apart.

RILEY
(weakly)
The treasure room's caving in.

BEN
We know

RILEY
That always happens.

Ben and Abigail grab Riley under his arms and help him to the pillar that's crashed through the wall. The water has leveled off in the shaft.

INT. UNDERGROUND CATACOMBS, SHAFT - NIGHT

Ben and Abigail peer into the shaft. The two chains disappear into the water below.

BEN
We have to get in the water.

ABIGAIL
(to Riley)
Can you swim?

RILEY
Do I have a choice?

As everything in the treasure chamber collapses behind them, Ben pushes Riley into the water and jumps in after him.

Abigail follows, then Ben swings the sword and cuts one of the chains. The elevator shoots out of the depths, catching Ben, Abigail and Riley and carrying them up the shaft!

INT. UNDERGROUND CATACOMBS, OSSUARY - NIGHT

The three roll off the roof of the charging elevator and spill out onto the ossuary floor as the elevator disappears up into the shaft with the sword.

Abigail lands on Ben. They regard each other. Surprised to be alive. Dust and debris settle in the room.

Riley lies in the dirt, staring up at the hundreds of grinning skulls looking down on him.

RILEY
Are we dead?

EXT. TRINITY CHURCH GRAVEYARD - NIGHT

Sadusky, his team, and dozens of POLICE are here.

BEN (O.S.)
Hey, can we get a little help over
here?

Sadusky turns to see Ben and Abigail helping Riley out of the crypt stairwell. In an instant, a swarm of federal agents and police are on them.

EXT. TRINITY CHURCH, BROADWAY - NIGHT

Sadusky hands the Declaration of Independence over to an armored transport, which pulls away with an escort of a dozen police cars.

Sadusky's team, Ben, and Abigail stand nearby with two EMTs who load Riley onto an ambulance.

EMT
(to Ben)
He lost a lot of blood, but he's
going to be fine.

Now, Sadusky approaches.


SADUSKY
OK, guys let's go.

The federal agents all start to leave. Ben and Abigail look at each other, confused.

BEN
Aren't you going to arrest us?

SADUSKY
What for? You do something wrong?

Ben and Abigail exchange a look like, no...okay...go...bye! Sadusky grins at them, then heads to his sedan.

SADUSKY (CONT'D)
You kids need a ride?

Ben and Abigail smile at each other.

BEN
No thanks. We'll walk.

SADUSKY
All right. Good night!

CLOSE ON Sadusky's hand as he climbs into his car. On his finger, we now see that he wears a SILVER MASONIC RING, just like the one Charles Carroll and Count Pulaski wore.

As Sadusky drives away, Ben and Abigail look back to the Trinity Church graveyard.

BEN
Too bad no one will ever know.

ABIGAIL
We'll know.

With that, she kisses Ben. A long, deep kiss. Then,suddenly, Ben pulls away.

BEN
Just tell me one thing. Does this
kissing mean anything?

Abigail considers that, then...

ABIGAIL
Only time will tell.

With that, they kiss some more as we PULL BACK as the federal agents all get in their cars and leave...



DISSOLVE TO:

INT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, ROTUNDA - MORNING

Ben, Abigail, Riley (all better now), Ben's dad Patrick, Sadusky, his whole team, Dr. Herbert, Woodruff, and all the National Archives GUARDS stand proud, watching as...

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE is raised back up in its display case to its wall exhibit.

Dr. Herbert crosses himself. Thank God. Woodruff sheds a tear. Ben, Abigail, and Riley exchange cocky smiles. Dr. Herbert checks his watch.

DR. HERBERT
Opening time.

And with that, the "ceremony" is over. Everybody scatters, back to their regular routine. Woodruff takes one more look at the precious document, then shrugs...

WOODRUFF
No one will ever know.


EXT. NATIONAL ARCHIVES, NORTH FOYER - MORNING

The GUARDS open the front doors, and museum PATRONS and TOURISTS start filing in. Ben and Riley cross the traffic and head down the front steps.

It's another beautiful day on Pennsylvania Avenue. Riley takes it all in...and then sighs.

RILEY
So, any other family quests,
treasures that you might know about,
something else I can waste seven
years of my life with?

BEN
Nope. That was the only one.

SADUSKY (O.S.)
Gates! Poole!

They turn to find the Sadusky and his team approaching.

RILEY
What now?

SADUSKY
It seems that, well, the President's
been looking for, uh, something
else for a very long time, and he
would very much appreciate your
help in finding it.

Ben and Riley look at each other and GRIN BIG as we start SLOWLY PULLING UP for a overhead view of the National Archives...

RILEY
I don't know, Sadusky. How much he
paying? 'Cause the last expedition
I went on was sort of a bust.

SADUSKY
How much do you want?

As they talk, we continue PULLING UP until we have a glorious, sky-high, panoramic view of our great nation's capital, and we..
 
FADE OUT.

The End.







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