In 1954, two U.S. Marshals - Edward "Teddy" Daniels and his new partner, Chuck Aule - travel to the Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane on Shutter Island located in Boston Harbor as part of an investigation into the disappearance of patient Rachel Solando, incarcerated for drowning her three children. The sole clue is a note left by Solando, which reads: "The law of 4; who is 67?" Shortly after arrival, a storm prevents their return to the mainland for several days. Daniels finds the staff confrontational: the lead psychiatrist, Dr. John Cawley, refuses to hand over records of the hospital staff; Solando's doctor, Dr. Lester Sheehan, had left on vacation after her disappearance, and they are barred from searching Ward C and told that the lighthouse on the island has already been searched, so there is no need to search it. When a patient is being interrogated by Daniels, with a subterfuge she sends Aule away for a few seconds and scribbles "RUN" in Daniels' notepad.
In 1963 Oregon, Randle Patrick "Mac" McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), a recidivist anti-authoritarian criminal serving a short sentence on a prison farm for the statutory rape of a 15-year-old girl, is transferred to a mental institution for evaluation. Although he does not show any overt signs of mental illness, he hopes to avoid hard labor and serve the rest of his sentence in a more relaxed hospital environment.
In the 1960s, a young woman nicknamed Babydoll (Emily Browning) is institutionalized by her abusive widowed stepfather (Gerard Plunkett) at the Lennox House for the Mentally Insane after she is blamed for the death of her younger sister. The stepfather bribes Blue Jones (Oscar Isaac), an asylum orderly, into forging the signature of the asylum's psychiatrist, Dr. Vera Gorski (Carla Gugino), to have Babydoll lobotomized so she cannot inform the authorities of the true circumstances leading to her sister's death. During her admission to the institution, Babydoll takes note of four items that she would need to attempt an escape.
In 1888, Mary Kelly (Heather Graham) and her small group of London prostitutes trudge through unrelenting daily misery. When their friend Ann Crook (Joanna Page) is kidnapped, they are drawn into a conspiracy with links higher up than they could possibly imagine. The kidnapping is soon followed by the gruesome murder of another woman, Martha Tabram (Samantha Spiro); and it becomes apparent that they are being hunted down, one by one as various prostitutes are murdered and mutilated post-mortem.
Nearing the end of a long mission exploring deep space, the spacecraft USS Palomino is returning to Earth. The crew consists of Captain Dan Holland, First Officer Lieutenant Charlie Pizer, journalist Harry Booth, ESP-sensitive scientist Dr. Kate McCrae, the expedition's civilian leader Dr. Alex Durant and the robot V.I.N.CENT ("Vital Information Necessary CENTralized").
Astronauts Taylor (Charlton Heston), Landon (Robert Gunner), Dodge (Jeff Burton) and Stewart are in deep hibernation when their spaceship crashes in a lake on an unknown planet after a long near-light speed voyage, during which, due to time dilation, the crew ages only 18 months. As the ship sinks, Taylor finds Stewart dead and her body desiccated. They throw an inflatable raft from the ship and climb down into it; before departing the ship, Taylor notes that the date is November 25, AD 3978, approximately two millennia after their departure in 1972. Once ashore, Dodge performs a soil test and pronounces the soil incapable of sustaining life.
Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) is a low-level government employee who has frequent daydreams of saving a damsel in distress. One day he is assigned the task of trying to rectify an error caused by a fly getting jammed in a printer, misprinting a file it was copying, resulting in the incarceration and accidental death during interrogation of cobbler Archibald Buttle, instead of the suspected terrorist, freelance heating engineer Archibald Tuttle.
New Orleans, 1937: Catherine Holly (Elizabeth Taylor) is a young woman institutionalized for a severe emotional disturbance that occurred when her cousin, Sebastian Venable, died under questionable circumstances while they were on summer holiday in Europe. The late Sebastian's wealthy mother, Violet Venable (Katharine Hepburn), makes every effort to deny and suppress the potentially sordid truth about her son and his demise. Toward that end, she attempts to bribe the state hospital's administrator, Dr. Lawrence J. Hockstader (Albert Dekker), by offering to finance a new wing for the underfunded facility if he will coerce his brilliant young surgeon, Dr. John Cukrowicz (Montgomery Clift), into lobotomizing her niece, thereby removing any chance that the events surrounding her son's death might be revealed by Catherine's "obscene babbling.
Born in Seattle, Washington, Frances Elena Farmer is a rebel from a young age, winning $100 in 1931 from The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for a high school essay called God Dies. In 1935, she becomes controversial again when she wins (and accepts) an all-expenses-paid trip to the USSR to visit the Moscow Art Theatre. Determined to become an actress, Frances is equally determined not to play the Hollywood game: she refuses to acquiesce to publicity stunts, and insists upon appearing on screen without makeup. She marries her first husband, Dwanye Steele, despite being advised not to, but cheats on him with alleged Communist Harry York on the night of her hometown's premiere of Come and Get It. Her defiance attracts the attention of Broadway playwright Clifford Odets, who convinces Frances that her future rests with the Group Theatre.
Gordon Fleming is the owner of a small asbestos removal company. The stresses of work and being a new father are causing problems between him and his wife, Wendy. He is in a desperate financial bind and makes a bid to remove the asbestos of the Danvers State Hospital, closed fifteen years ago, within one week. His team consists of Mike, a law school dropout who is knowledgeable about the asylum's history; Phil, who is filled with bitterness after losing his girlfriend and finds solace in smoking marijuana; Hank, whom Phil lost his girlfriend to; and Jeff, Gordon's nephew, who suffers from severe nyctophobia.
The film follows a man, Jack (Jesse Metcalfe), faking insanity in order to save his sister, Lily (Kiele Sanchez), who has been involuntarily institutionalized. The siblings soon find that the strange doctor at the asylum, Mr. Gianetti (Peter Stormare), has been testing an experimental compound, orphium, on the patients that seems to be turning them into flesh-eating zombies; Loomis (Kurt Caceres), another patient, spreads the infection. The two siblings band together with a terminally paranoid man, Dave (Kevin Sussman), and a helpful nurse, Nancy (Olivia Munn), in the hopes of finding a way out of the asylum. They are attacked by most of the prisoners and staff, who kill Nancy; while on the 4th floor, they encounter the doctor, who gives Dave an icepick lobotomy, incapacitating him; he attempts to get Jack too, but ends up being infected by Loomis. At the end of the film, as the two siblings are in a police car heading to the asylum to investigate, the officers (Mark Kelly & Sharon Schaffer) accidentally let the patients escape into the outside world. It ends with a panning shot, revealing the city below the asylum's hillside location.
Alice, later Alys, is a teenager who wants to go to Montreal to have a career as a singer. She receives an offer to join Jean Grimaldi’s comedy show, and begins an affair with his married son Olivier, despite her Catholic upbringing.
The film starts with a man, Ryjkin, trying to escape from the Cube. He enters a cube and is sprayed with liquid that he thinks is only water. However, when he rubs the back of his hand, a piece of flesh falls off. This continues all over his body, and he then melts on the floor and dies.