We all love a good puzzle, the final turn of a key, the thrill of a solution and the satisfying ‘click’ of a padlock. Movies have been putting puzzles in their plots for years and some of the best ones are ones you can follow and solve along with the character as they get out at the last second. In real life Escape Rooms are a lot like the movies, they thrive on puzzles; getting immersed and it becomes so gratifying when you begin to solve things together, especially with a ticking clock.

We have made another list of films that involved the ‘being stuck in a room’ concept of Escape Rooms, this list will comprise of 10 films that are based around solving a series of puzzles. It might involve a worldwide hunt, some adventure seeking or discovering a lost treasure. However it will not include a twist ending ‘puzzle’ such as ‘Memento’ or ‘Seven.’

From our last list, ‘being stuck in a room’ the sense of time is important. A countdown keeps the suspense, however with more puzzle based movies the suspense comes from a competitor, nemesis or ‘baddie’ that is in a race to get to final goal along with the character. We have also added a non- spoiler description and puzzle ‘click’ moment that symbolises that padlock opened, mystery solved instant appearing within the movie. So let’s grab some popcorn and join the adventure with our list of 10 films that have the element of puzzle solving.


LIST : Puzzle Solving Adventures

The Game (1997)

Michael Douglas plays a hard up business man that is offered a chance to have an experience of a lifetime. On a whim he decides to sign up, at first it all seems like innocent fun and not the experience that he had expected and then things take a serious turn. Is he being blackmailed, swindled and taken for a ride by this company, or is it actually a game?

This film is full of little details and may deserve a second watch for full understanding or nods to the plot.

Puzzle ‘click’ moment:     Wondering what that handle was for?

Paycheck (2003)

Ben Affleck is a man who is entrusted to build technology more advanced than a company’s competitors. Upon completion of each project he receives his personal belongings and a big paycheck, along with his memory wiped of the project, to guarantee security. Until one day a project ends, no money received and an unusual package, sent by himself, made up of 12 random objects. It appears the machine that he had been commissioned to invent involved looking through time. Upon seeing the terrible consequences that comes from knowing the future, he sets out to destroy it using each random object at just the right time.


Puzzle ‘click’ moment:      Finding the extra item hidden within the envelope.

Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

The most recognisable action adventure hero with a fedora and a whip, Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones searching for hidden treasures. Indiana must discover the resting place of the Lost Ark before the Nazi’s uncover and release its untold powers. Solving and decoding mysteries that have lasted for thousands of years along with plenty of action. This is a must see franchise for any puzzle loving adventurer.

Puzzle ‘click’ moment:   Staff into ground plus John William’s score equals epic reveal.

Lara Croft (2001)

Based on a video game, ‘Tomb Raider’ with the same named adventurer, Lara Croft is the pistol wielding action hero searching ancient temples for lost treasures that could determine the fate of the world. The franchise inspired a sequel and a remake ‘Tomb Raider’ in 2018, with more artefacts, traps and clever puzzles to solve in the quest to save the world.

Puzzle ‘click’ moment: A spinning mobile reveals all just in time.


The Da-Vinci Code (2006)

Tom Hanks is Professor Robert Langdon in search of the truth behind the Holy Grail. Hidden by a secret society and a two thousand year old trail he must discover the truth before it is lost forever. Filled with ‘hidden messages’ in plain sight the fictional story was adapted from Dan Brown’s book with the same name and with the success of this film, made two more films regarding ancient trails round modern Rome.

Puzzle ‘click’ moment: Knew that mathematical ‘code’ would come in handy one time.

National Treasure (2004)

Nicolas Cage is Benjamin Gates, treasure seeker and historian who goes in search of the Free Mason’s treasure in order to protect it from those who would steal it.  Following the only clue past down from generation to generation, he must discover a hidden trail through hundreds of years of American artifacts and history. 

Puzzle ‘click’ moment: “Can it really be that simple?”


The Goonies (1985)

The 1980’s classic film about the children from the goon docks, in an attempt to save their town, they go on one last adventure to find the rich stuff. After the discovery of a map in the attic, the children go in search of a lost treasure of a famous pirate. They must use their wits to outsmart the traps and use their gadgets to outrun the criminal gang who are chasing them down.


Puzzle ‘click’ moment: Is that a b- flat or you will be flat?

The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

Tintin the reporter and historian from the adventure comic books comes to the big screen in an animated motion picture. With his dog companion Snowy, they must join up with Captain Haddock to find a long lost fortune. After buying a model ship, they discover a hidden clue that reveals a location to the famous treasure. Their adventure will take them across the world as they must find the other two model ships before a rival tracks them down.

Puzzle ‘click’ moment: Three into one


Get your children into puzzles and adventure stories.

Tad the Lost Explorer (2012)

Tadeo Jones is a not so successful archaeologist with the heart of a true adventurer who has a lucky break to finally discover a lost city of gold. With quick jokes and fast action this is an animation adventure film that has lots of character.  This Spanish made film grossed the highest animation picture of 2012 and has now produced a sequel. The film is available in many languages and the character has been used to promote archaeology to children.


Special mention – This character had a start as a short film ‘Tadeo Jones’ in 2004, which sprang this character into a motion picture.  Escape Room lovers might relate to this short animation. 

Duck Tales The lost Lamp (1990)

From the classic Duck Tales series, a motion picture about the adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie. Most of the puzzles come from the search of the pyramid with the dangerous traps and the genius way the nephews must solve them.  Upon the discovery of a lost treasure, one of the children stumbles onto a mystical golden lamp. Could there be something magical inside?


Look out for our other movie related blogs including a review of Escape Room movies coming soon.

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