In the Pride Lands of Africa, a lion rules over the animals as king. The birth of King Mufasa and Queen Sarabi's son Simba creates envy and resentment in Mufasa's younger brother, Scar, who knows his nephew now replaces him as heir to the throne. After Simba has grown into a young cub, Mufasa gives him a tour of the Pride Lands, teaching him the responsibilities of being a king and the circle of life. Later that day, Scar tricks Simba and his best friend Nala into exploring a forbidden elephant graveyard, despite the protests of Mufasa's hornbill majordomo Zazu. At the graveyard, three spotted hyenas named Shenzi, Banzai and Ed attack the cubs before Mufasa, alerted by Zazu, rescues them and forgives Simba for his actions. That night, the hyenas, who are allied with Scar, plot with him to kill Mufasa and Simba.
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.
Fotoula "Toula" Portokalos (Nia Vardalos) is going through an early midlife crisis. At thirty, having had her childhood, adolescence and adult life plagued by bad luck, she feels that she is the only woman in her family who has "failed" at being a typical Greek girl. Her family expects her to be more like her 33-year-old sister Athena (Stavroula Logothettis) and marry a Greek boy, make Greek babies, and "feed everyone until the day she dies." Instead, Toula is stuck working in the family restaurant in Chicago, "Dancing Zorba's." Frumpy and cynical, she fears that she is doomed to be stuck with her life as it is and always has been. One day while at the restaurant, Toula briefly becomes enamored with and embarrasses herself in front of Ian Miller (John Corbett), a handsome school teacher.
In 1927, Roxie Hart sees star Velma Kelly perform ("All That Jazz") at a Chicago theater. Wanting stardom for herself, she begins an affair with Fred Casely, who claims to know the manager. After the show, Velma is arrested for killing her husband Charlie and sister Veronica, who were in bed together. A month later, Casely admits to Roxie that he has no showbiz connections and just wanted her body. Enraged, she shoots him dead. She convinces her husband Amos to take the blame, telling him she killed a burglar in self-defense. As Amos confesses to the detective, Roxie fantasizes that she is singing a song devoted to her husband ("Funny Honey"). However, when the detective brings up evidence that Roxie and Casely were having an affair, Amos recants; Roxie furiously admits what really happened and is arrested. Ambitious District Attorney Harrison announces he will seek the death penalty.
In 1593 London, William Shakespeare is a sometime player in the Lord Chamberlain's Men and poor playwright for Philip Henslowe, owner of The Rose Theatre. Shakespeare is working on a new comedy, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter. Suffering from writer's block, he has barely begun the play, but starts auditioning players. Viola de Lesseps, the daughter of a wealthy merchant, who has seen Shakespeare's plays at court, disguises herself as "Thomas Kent" to audition, then runs away. Shakespeare pursues Kent to Viola's house and leaves a note with the nurse, asking Thomas Kent to begin rehearsals at the Rose. He sneaks into the house with the minstrels playing that night at the ball, where her parents are arranging her betrothal to Lord Wessex, an impoverished aristocrat. While dancing with Viola, Shakespeare is struck speechless, and after being forcibly ejected by Wessex, uses Thomas Kent as a go-between to woo her. Wessex also asks Will's name, to which he replies that he is Christopher Marlowe.
Maria is a free-spirited young Austrian woman studying to become a nun at Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg in 1938. Her love of music and the mountains, her youthful enthusiasm and imagination, and her lack of discipline cause some concern among the nuns. The Mother Abbess, believing Maria would be happier outside the abbey, sends her to the villa of retired naval officer Captain Georg von Trapp to be governess to his seven children—Liesl, Friedrich, Louisa, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta, and Gretl. The Captain has been raising his children alone using strict military discipline following the death of his first wife. At first, the children treat Maria as they did their former governesses—playing tricks on her as a way of gaining their father's attention. Maria responds with kindness and patience, and soon the children come to trust and respect her.
Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) is involved with Frank Navasky (Greg Kinnear), a leftist postmodernist newspaper writer for The New York Observer who's always in search of an opportunity to root for the underdog. While Frank is devoted to his typewriter, Kathleen prefers her laptop and logging into her AOL email account. There, using the screen name 'Shopgirl', she reads an email from "NY152", the screen name of Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) whom she first met in an "over-30s" chatroom. As her voice narrates her reading of the email, she reveals the boundaries of the online relationship; no specifics, including no names, career or class information, or family connections. Joe belongs to the Fox family which runs Fox Books — a chain of "mega" bookstores similar to Borders or Barnes & Noble. Kathleen, on the other hand, runs the independent bookstore The Shop Around The Corner that her mother ran before her. The two are shown passing each other on their respective ways to work, revealing that they frequent the same neighborhoods in upper west Manhattan. Joe arrives at work, overseeing the opening of a new Fox Books in New York with the help of his best friend, branch manager Kevin (Dave Chappelle). Meanwhile, Kathleen and her three store assistants, George (Steve Zahn), Aunt Birdie (Jean Stapleton), and Christina (Heather Burns) open up her small shop that morning.
The film covers the court-martial of two U.S. Marines, Lance Corporal Harold Dawson and Private Louden Downey, who killed a fellow Marine, Private William Santiago, at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. Santiago compared unfavorably to his fellow Marines, had poor relations with them, and failed to respect the chain of command in attempts at being transferred to another base. An argument evolves between base commander Colonel Nathan Jessup and his officers: while Jessup's executive officer, Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Markinson, advocates that Santiago be transferred immediately, Jessup regards this as akin to surrender and orders Santiago's commanding officer, Lieutenant Kendrick, to train Santiago to become a better Marine.
Unemployed amateur musician Xia Luo(夏洛, Shen Teng) attends the wedding of Qiu Ya (秋雅, Wang Zhi), his high school crush. He overdrinks, makes an inebriated declaration of love to Qiu Ya, and angers his wife Ma Dongmei (马冬梅, Ma Li), who publicly shames him for being a poor provider and husband.
A Baker and his Wife wish for a child but suffer under a curse laid upon the Baker's family by a Witch who found the Baker's father robbing her garden when his mother was pregnant. The Baker's father also stole some beans which caused the Witch's mother to punish her with the curse of ugliness. The Witch offers to lift the curse, but only if the Baker and his Wife obtain four critical items for her: a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn, and a slipper as pure as gold.
Mrs. Montague and Mr. Capulet (Julie Walters and Richard Wilson) are two elderly neighbours who despise each other. When they leave their respective gardens, their garden gnomes come alive. The Montague garden is filled with blue-hat gnomes, and the Capulet garden has red-hat gnomes. Like their human gardeners, the gnomes also despise each other.
Armand Goldman is the openly gay owner of a drag club in South Beach called The Birdcage and his partner Albert is "Starina" the star attraction of the club and a very effeminate and flamboyant man. Living with them is Agador, their flamboyant Guatemalan housekeeper who dreams of being in Albert's drag show as well.
In the summer of 1958, Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John) meets local boy Danny Zuko (John Travolta) at the beach while on vacation and they soon fall in love. As the summer comes to an end, Sandy worries about returning home to Australia and never seeing Danny again, but he assures her that it is only the beginning for them.
In 1912, a teenage boy named Albert Narracott (Jeremy Irvine) from Devon, England, witnesses the birth of a Bay Thoroughbred foal and subsequently watches with admiration the growth of the young horse. Much to the dismay of his mother Rose (Emily Watson), his father Ted (Peter Mullan) buys the colt at auction, despite their needing a more suitable plough horse for the farm work. Albert's best friend, Andrew Easton (Matt Milne), watches as Albert teaches his colt many things, such as to come when he imitates the call of an owl by blowing through his cupped hands.