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.
In June 1969, 5-year-old Jo Thornton (Alexa Vega), her parents, and the family dog Toby seek shelter in a storm cellar as a powerful F5 tornado. This tornado is so strong that the storm cellar door is ripped off, and Jo's father (Richard Lineback) is pulled into the storm to his death. Jo, her mother (Rusty Schwimmer), and Toby survive.
Will Rodman, a scientist at the biotechnology company Gen-Sys, is testing viral-based drug ALZ-112 on chimpanzees to find a cure for brain ailments such as Alzheimer's disease. The drug is given to a chimpanzee, Bright Eyes, greatly increasing her intelligence. However, when Will is presenting 112 to his boss and uses Bright Eyes as an example, she is forced from her cage, goes on a rampage, and is killed. Will's boss Steven Jacobs terminates the project and orders chimp handler Robert Franklin to euthanize the chimps. After doing as ordered, Franklin discovers that Bright Eyes had recently given birth and understands the reason why she was disturbed. He convinces Will to save the baby chimp's life by taking him home temporarily. Will's father Charles, who is suffering from Alzheimer's, names the chimp "Caesar", in reference to William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, from which he can, despite his deteriorating mental condition, cite long passages from memory. Will learns that Caesar has inherited his mother's high intelligence (the 112 virus passing to him in utero) and decides to raise him, working from home and observing his behavior in hopes that he can get the project restarted. Three years later, Will introduces Caesar to the redwood forest at Muir Woods National Monument. Meanwhile, with Charles' condition rapidly deteriorating, Will treats him with ALZ-112 and he is restored to better-than-original cognitive ability.
On the morning of June 6, 1944, the beginning of the Normandy Invasion, American soldiers prepare to land on Omaha Beach. They suffer heavily from their struggle against German infantry, machine gun nests, and artillery fire. Captain John H. Miller, a company commander of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, survives the initial landing and assembles a group of his Rangers to penetrate the German defenses, leading to a breakout from the beach. In Washington, D.C, at the U.S. War Department, General George Marshall is informed that three of the four brothers of the Ryan family were killed in action and that their mother is to receive all three telegrams in the same day. He learns that the fourth son, Private First Class James Francis Ryan, is a paratrooper and is missing in action somewhere in Normandy. Marshall, after reading Abraham Lincoln's Bixby letter, orders that Ryan must be found and sent home immediately.
The film opens with construction executive John (Brad Pitt) and tech support representative Jane Smith (Angelina Jolie) answering questions during marriage counselling. The couple has been married for "five or six" years, but their marriage is suffering to the point that they cannot remember the last time they had sex. They tell the story of their first meeting in Bogotá, Colombia, where they were both secretly on the run from the Colombian authorities - since the authorities were looking for tourists travelling alone after a recent heist, the two claimed to be together to avoid being questioned. They quickly fell in love and married. John later states that Jane "looked like Christmas morning" to him on the day they met.
Raymond "Ray" Gaines (Dwayne Johnson) is a Los Angeles Fire Department Air Rescue pilot in the midst of a divorce from Emma (Carla Gugino) and planning a trip to San Francisco with his daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario).
In AD 180, Spanish-Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius leads the Roman army to a decisive victory against the Germanic tribes near Vindobona, ending a long war on the Roman frontier and winning the favor of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Maximus, weary of battle, decides to retire at his Spanish farm estate at the Emperor's behest, but the Emperor tells him that his son and heir to the throne, Commodus, is unfit to rule and thus appoints him as regent to help save Rome from corruption. Before he makes his decision, Commodus is confronted by his father who tells him that he will not be emperor. Burdened by grief and believing he was never valued by his father, Commodus kills him.
In 1876, U.S. Army captain Civil War veteran Nathan Algren is traumatized by his participation in atrocities during the Indian Wars, and has become an embittered alcoholic. Algren is approached by his former commanding officer, Colonel Bagley, on behalf of Japanese businessman Omura, who wishes to hire distinguished U.S. soldiers to train the Imperial Japanese Army to suppress a samurai rebellion, led by Katsumoto Moritsugu. In exchange, Japan would ratify a lucrative trade agreement that would grant the U.S. exclusive rights to supply arms to the Japanese government. Although Algren despises Bagley for having ordered atrocities during the Indian wars, he accepts the job for the money and sails to Japan. Most of the soldiers being trained are little more than inexperienced peasants and farmers.The training is interrupted when the samurai rebels attack a railroad owned by Omura; Bagley orders the regiment to mobilize, overruling Algren's objection that the soldiers are not ready. Algren is proved correct: during a battle in a foggy forest in Yoshino Province, the undisciplined and intimidated soldiers panic and are quickly routed by the samurai horsemen. Algren kills several samurai with his revolver and saber but is eventually knocked from his horse. Algren desperately fights using a spear tipped flagstaff with a flag of a white tiger until he collapses from complete exhaustion. As he is about to be vanquished, he kills his would-be executioner with the staff's spear tip. His ferocity and refusal to surrender, as well as the image of the white tiger on the flag he is fighting with, reminds Katsumoto of a recurring dream. As a result, Algren is spared and taken captive to the rebels' village in the mountains.
In 1923 Tennessee, two young boys, Rafe McCawley (Jesse James) and Danny Walker (Reiley McClendon), play together in the back of an old biplane, pretending to be soldiers fighting the Germans in World War I. After Rafe's father lands his biplane and leaves, Rafe and Danny climb into the plane and Rafe accidentally starts it, giving the boys their first experience at flight. Soon afterward, Danny's father (William Fichtner) comes to take him home. He calls Rafe a "stupid boy" and beats Danny. In an effort to protect Danny, Rafe hits Danny's father with an old propeller and calls him a "dirty German". Danny's father reacts by saying he fought the Germans in the trenches in France during World War I, and that he prays that no one will ever have to see the things he saw.
In the 1880s, an English couple and their infant son escape a burning ship, ending up on land near uncharted rainforests off the coast of Africa. The couple craft themselves a treehouse from their ship's wreckage, but are subsequently killed by Sabor, a rogue leopardess. Kala, a female gorilla who recently lost her own child to Sabor, hears the cries of the orphaned human infant and finds him in the ruined treehouse. Though she is attacked by Sabor, Kala and the baby manage to escape. Kala takes the baby back to the gorilla troop to raise as her own, an act of which her mate, Kerchak, disapproves. Kala raises the human child, naming him Tarzan. Though he befriends other gorillas in the troop and other animals, including the young female gorilla Terk and the paranoid male elephant Tantor, Tarzan finds himself unable to keep up with them, so he takes great efforts to improve himself. As a young man, Tarzan is able to kill Sabor with his crude spear and protect the troop, gaining Kerchak's reluctant respect.
Following his pursuit by Kirill, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) evades Moscow police. Six weeks later, CIA Deputy Director Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) divulges the audiotaped confession of Ward Abbott, the late former head of Operation Treadstone, to Director Ezra Kramer (Scott Glenn). Meanwhile, in Turin, journalist Simon Ross (Paddy Considine) of The Guardian meets an informant to learn about Jason and Operation Blackbriar, the program succeeding Treadstone. The CIA tracks Ross as he returns to London, after his mention of "Blackbriar" during a cell-phone call to his editor is detected by the ECHELON system. Jason reappears in Paris to inform Martin Kreutz (Daniel Brühl), the step-brother of his girlfriend Marie Helena Kreutz (Franka Potente) of her assassination in India.
In 1815, convict Jean Valjean is released on parole by prison guard Javert after serving a nineteen-year sentence for stealing a loaf of bread and numerous escape attempts. Valjean is refused employment due to his paroled status. He is offered food and shelter by the Bishop of Digne, but Valjean steals his silver during the night. When he is captured by the constables, the Bishop tells them that the silver was given as a gift, securing Valjean's release. The Bishop urges Valjean to do something worthwhile with his life. Moved by the Bishop's grace, Valjean breaks his parole and vows to start a new life under a new identity.
Lankester Merrin is a veteran Catholic priest who is on an archeological dig in Iraq. There he finds an amulet which resembles the statue of Pazuzu, a demon who Merrin defeated years ago. Merrin then realizes the demon has returned to seek revenge.