The opening scene shows the troops of Agamemnon of Mycenae ready to fight against the troops of Triopas of Thessaly. Afterwards, Prince Hector of Troy and his younger brother Paris negotiate a peace treaty with Menelaus, king of Sparta, and celebrate the end of a long and bloody war. Paris, however, is having a secret love affair with Menelaus' wife, Queen Helen, and smuggles her aboard their homebound vessel, much to Hector's fury, as this could lead to war between Troy and Greece. Upon learning of this, Menelaus meets with his elder brother, King Agamemnon of Greece, and asks his help in taking Troy. Agamemnon, who has wanted to conquer Troy for a long time, agrees, since it will give him control of the Aegean Sea. On King Nestor's advice, Agamemnon has Odysseus, King of Ithaca, persuade Achilles to join them. Achilles, who strongly dislikes Agamemnon and his ways, initially refuses, but eventually decides to go after his mother, Thetis, tells him that though he will die, he will be forever remembered.
Beowulf (Ray Winstone) is a legendary Geatish warrior who travels to Denmark with his band of soldiers, including his best friend, Wiglaf (Brendan Gleeson). They travel in response to the call of King Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins), who needs a hero to slay a monster called Grendel (Crispin Glover), a hideously disfigured troll-like creature with superhuman strength. Grendel attacks Hrothgar's mead hall, Heorot, whenever the Danes hold a celebration there, and Hrothgar was forced to close the hall. Upon arriving, Beowulf immediately becomes attracted to Hrothgar's wife, Queen Wealtheow (Robin Wright Penn), who does not love her husband and reciprocates Beowulf's interest.
When Jim Craig and his father Henry are discussing their finances, a herd of wild horses called the Brumby Mob passes by, and Henry wants to shoot the black stallion leader—but Jim convinces his father to capture and sell them. The next morning the mob reappears and Henry is accidentally killed. Before Jim can inherit the station, a group of mountain men tell him that he must first earn the right – and to do so he must go to the lowlands and work.
L'action se déroule à Medicine Bend, une bourgade sur les hauteurs montagneuses du Dakota. Attaquée par des Indiens, la personne chargée du télégraphe a le temps, avant sa mort, d'envoyer un message au fort McClelland. Le colonel Collingwood, le commandant du fort, envoie sur place une escouage dirigée par trois amis : les sergents Merry, Deal et Barrett. Un ancien esclave noir, qui souhaite s'engager dans l'U.S. Cavalry, les suit malgré l'interdiction qui lui en a été signifiée. Une fois arrivés à Medicine Bend, l'équipe ne trouve aucune trace des habitants et sont attaqués par les guerriers de Mountain Hawk.
On the Northwest Frontier of India, circa 1880, contact has been lost with a British outpost at Tantrapur in the midst of a telegraph message. Colonel Weed (Montagu Love) dispatches a detachment of 25 British Indian Army troops to investigate, led by three sergeants of the Royal Engineers, MacChesney (Victor McLaglen), Cutter (Cary Grant), and Ballantine (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.), long-time friends and veteran campaigners. Although they are a disciplinary headache for their colonel, they are the right men to send on a dangerous mission. Accompanying the detail are six Indian camp workers, including regimental bhisti (water carrier) Gunga Din (Sam Jaffe), who longs to throw off his lowly status and become a soldier of the Queen.
Pelias (Douglas Wilmer), misinterpreting the prophecy given to him by the god Zeus (Niall MacGinnis), usurps the throne of Thessaly by killing King Aristo and most of his family. The infant Jason is spirited out by one of Aristo's soldiers. Pelias encounters one of the king's daughters, Briseis (Davinia Taylor), seeking sanctuary in the temple of the goddess Hera (Honor Blackman) and slays her. Because the murder has profaned her temple, the angry Hera becomes Jason's protector. She, disguised as the high Priestess, warns Pelias to beware of a man wearing one sandal.
The setting is a post-industrial castle that defends the border of an unnamed kingdom. It is terrorized by a demon named Grendel, who kills the castle's defenders, one by one. After fighting his way past several soldiers trying to keep anyone from entering or leaving, the warrior Beowulf offers his help to the castle's king, Hrothgar, who welcomes his help.
Set during the 15th century, the sorcerer Dr. Erasmus Craven (Vincent Price) has been mourning the death of his wife Lenore (Hazel Court) for over two years, much to the chagrin of his daughter Estelle (Olive Sturgess). One night he is visited by a raven, who happens to be a transformed wizard, Dr. Bedlo (Peter Lorre). Together they brew a potion that restores Bedlo to his old self. Bedlo explains he had been transformed by the evil Dr. Scarabus (Boris Karloff) in an unfair duel, and both decide to see Scarabus, Bedlo to exact revenge and Craven to look for his wife's ghost, which Bedlo reportedly saw at Scarabus' castle. After fighting off the attack of Craven's coachman, who apparently acted under the influence of Scarabus, they set out to the castle, joined by Craven's daughter Estelle and Bedlo's son Rexford (Jack Nicholson).
In Victorian England, Florence Nightingale (Kay Francis) decides to become a nurse, puzzling her upper-class family. She travels to Germany to the only nursing school. The training is arduous, but she endures and graduates. When she returns home, however, no one is willing to employ her.
In 500 A.D., Hrothgar, king of Denmark, and a group of warriors chase a large and burly man, whom they consider a troll, and his young son, to the edge of deep cliff. The father directs his young son, Grendel, to hide from the attackers' view; whereupon The Danes shoot the father dead, and his dead body plunges onto the beach far below. The Danish king sees the young Grendel, but spares him. Later, Grendel finds his father's body and cuts the head off to take it home. Many years later, the severed (and mummified) head is inside a cave where the boy Grendel has become as large and powerful as his father, and plans revenge.
A young man (Henry B. Walthall) falls in love with a beautiful woman (Blanche Sweet), but is prevented by his uncle (Spottiswoode Aitken) from pursuing her. Tormented by visions of death and suffering and deciding that murder is the way of things, the young man kills his uncle and builds a wall to hide the body.