->Mr. Spade, have you any conception of how much money can be got for that black bird?
->No.
->Well, sir, if I told you, if I told you half, you'd call me a liar.
-->-- Film/TheMalteseFalcon

A popular subtrope of the {{MacGuffin}} concept. Rather than make the [=MacGuffin=] be a piece of obscure technology, or the ChosenOne brought back to life, it is quite simply a giant pile of cash. Because money has intrinsic and universal value, the viewer can instantly understand why it is that the characters are so determined to retrieve it.

The problem with this trope is that it can't be generally used to power stories that involve things like the villain seeking world domination. As such, it tends to show up most often in mundane fiction, although a [=MacGuffin=] full of money can make characters who would otherwise be normal act kind of insane -- compare GoldFever.

See also MockGuffin, BriefcaseFullOfMoney, HatePlague, ZillionDollarBill, PirateBooty, TreasureMap and DragonHoard.
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* An old ComicBook/DisneyDucksComicUniverse comic involves Donald knocking loose a concrete egg and discovering that the thing's actually filled with money. After cracking it open with a wrecking ball, he finds out it belongs to Uncle Scrooge, and he kept it around in case of emergency. Yes, it was his nest egg.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Hitman}} Annual'' #1, the MacGuffin is a coffin full of dollars. The story title? [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "A Coffin Full of Dollars"]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* ''ItsAMadMadMadMadWorld'' has the characters spend much of the early part of the movie gradually progressing from "let's be reasonable" to "screw it, every man for himself" regarding the location of a cache they discover in the opening minutes.
* This was the [=MacGuffin=] used to drive the action in ''Film/NoCountryForOldMen''. At a few points, characters end up needing to spend some of it after getting themselves in a tight spot.
* ''Film/ASimplePlan'' is about a group of characters who find a wrecked plane full of cash (which turns out to be [[spoiler: the ransom from a kidnapping]]).
* ''[[OceansEleven Ocean's Eleven]]'' uses this, though it differs from most Thief Caper films in that it was very ''[[ItsPersonal specific]]'' money.
* ''RatRace'' makes pure use of this trope. The object of the whole film is to be the first to reach and open a briefcase with two million dollars in it.
* ''DumbAndDumber'' centers around the protagonists trying to return a briefcase full of ransom money, which they picked up in the belief it was left behind by mistake. [[spoiler:Once they spend it all on luxuries, it becomes a briefcase full of [=IOUs=] instead - and they can't understand why the bad guys won't accept those, since they're practically the same thing.]]
* ''{{Millions}}'' is about a 7-year-old boy who finds a duffel bag full of money, and what he and his brother do with it.
* This is the basis of several [[Creator/TheCoenBrothers CoenBrothers]] films including ''Film/NoCountryForOldMen'', ''{{Fargo}}'', ''TheBigLebowski'' and ''BloodSimple''. Although in ''Lebowski'''s case [[spoiler: the briefcase was actually full of phone books from the beginning, and the money had already been embezzled.]]
* The NaziGold in ''KellysHeroes''.
* The suitcase full of cash in ''ShallowGrave''. The film is about a group of friends trying to cover up an accidental death in their apartment so they can keep said money.
* TheMalteseFalcon looks like an ordinary statue, but only a few people know that it holds gems under its skin.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* The Scapular with supposedly reveals the secret hiding place of the Treasure of Literature/TheBlackCoats
* In ''Literature/TheTwelveChairs'', the MacGuffin is a chair stuffed with diamond jewelry. To make things worse, there are the [[GottaCatchThemAll other eleven]], which look the same.
* Subverted (kinda) in the ''Literature/{{Mistborn}}'' Trilogy. The atium cache is initially desired for its monetary value, but when they finally find it near the end of the last book, [[spoiler:money of any sort is kind of worthless...]]
** In the end, it's still valuable, but because [[spoiler: it's actually the "body" (read: power) of a god in metallic form, and the BigBad (the god it was essentially scooped out of) wants to re-ingest it to get himself back to full strength]].
* A minor example in ''Literature/TheWayOfKings''. Each battle of the Shattered Plains (though not the war as a whole) is driven by the appearance of chasmfiend pupae, each of which contain an enormous gemstone. A "gemheart" represents a staggering amount of money, enough to fund an army for months, and also provides the gems that are used to magic up food for said armies.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Manga and Anime ]]

* The titular PirateBooty treasure in ''Manga/OnePiece'' is ''probably'' this trope, given the genre trappings, but as yet no one really knows for sure.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Theater]]

* Harpagon's cash-box with a ten thousand crowns in ''Theatre/TheMiser''.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* The Philosopher's Legacy in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3'' is a microfilm with details of bank accounts containing a ''colossal'' amount of money (described as "one hundred billion dollars" or "[...] enough to fight the war five times over". Enough, in fact, that despite the usual trapping of this trope, [[spoiler:the group that gets their hands on it does take over the world]].
* In the first ''RyuGaGotoku'' (known as ''Yakuza'' in the West), 10 Billion Yen disappears from the Tojo Clan's vault, sending Tokyo teetering on the brink of open gang warfare as everyone hunts down the missing money.
* In the third case of ''VisualNovel/DanganRonpa'', [[KillerGameMaster Monokuma]] offers ten billion yen to the first student to murder a classmate and escape [[ClosedCircle the school]]. As it turns out, [[spoiler: the killer in that case never cared about the money and just really wanted out.]]
* ''VideoGame/FallOut2'' features a treasure that's stuck down in a well - a load of cash! After buttering up the ghoul that buried it for its location and hiring a treasure hunter to help find it, the Chosen One gets their hands on [[spoiler:10,000 bottlecaps - which was an incredibly valuable treasure about 80 years ago while bottlecaps were legal tender, but worthless now that towns have started printing money again.]]

[[/folder]]

----