L'histoire se déroule en 1981, à Gotham City. Arthur Fleck travaille dans une agence de clowns. Méprisé et incompris par ceux qui lui font face, il mène une morne vie en marge de la société et habite dans un immeuble miteux avec sa mère Penny. Un soir, il se fait agresser dans le métro par trois hommes alcoolisés qui le brutalisent, le poussant à les tuer en retour. Son geste inspire à une partie de la population l'idée de s'en prendre eux aussi aux puissants ; Arthur bascule peu à peu dans la folie et finit par devenir le Joker, un dangereux tueur psychopathe victime d'hallucinations.
Dr. Malcolm Crowe, a child psychologist in Philadelphia, returns home one night with his wife, Anna, after having been honored for his work. Anna tells Malcolm that everything is second to his work, and that she believes he is truly gifted.
An enchantress, disguised as an old beggar, offers a rose to a young prince, in exchange for shelter in his castle from the cold, but the prince refuses. For his arrogance, the enchantress transforms him into a beast and places a spell on the castle. She gives him a magic mirror that enables him to view faraway events, along with the enchanted rose that she had offered. To break the spell, the prince must learn to love another and earn her love in return before the rose's last petal falls on his 21st birthday. If he fails, he will remain a beast forever.
MI6 agent James Bond meets a Swiss banker in Bilbao, Spain to retrieve money for Sir Robert King, a British oil tycoon and friend of M. Bond tells the banker that King was buying a report stolen from an MI6 agent who was killed for it, and wants to know who killed him. The banker threatens Bond, but Bond overpowers him. The banker is killed by his assistant before he can reveal the assassin's name. Bond escapes with the money.
A retired rock star, Johnny Boz, is stabbed to death with an ice pick during sex by a mysterious blonde woman at his apartment. Homicide detective Nick Curran investigates, and the only suspect is Catherine Tramell, Boz's bisexual girlfriend and a crime novelist who has written a novel that mirrors the crime. It is concluded that Catherine herself did it or someone who is trying to frame her out of spite. Tramell is uncooperative and taunting in the investigation, smoking in the interrogation room and exposing her bare genitalia in front of the officers. She presents alibis and passes a lie detector test. Nick discovers that Catherine has a habit of befriending murderers, including her girlfriend Roxy, who is later shown to have murdered several young boys on impulse, and Hazel Dobkins, who murdered her family.
Ten years after tracking down serial killer Jame Gumb, FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling (Moore) is unjustly blamed for a bungled drug raid. Starling and her connection to Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins) come to the attention of Lecter's only surviving victim, Mason Verger (Gary Oldman), a wealthy child molester whom Lecter left paralyzed and horribly disfigured during a therapy session.
In an unnamed American city, soon-to-be-retiring Detective William R. Somerset (Freeman) is partnered with short-tempered-but-idealistic Detective David Mills (Pitt), who recently transferred to the department. Together, their first case leads them to believe that they are chasing a serial killer whose killings each reflect one of the seven deadly sins. First, they discover an obese man who was tied to a chair and forced to eat food, and eventually, his own vomit, until his stomach exploded (representing gluttony). Next, they investigate the fatal bloodletting of a rich attorney, from whom a pound of flesh has been extracted (representing greed). Two days later, fingerprints left at the crime scenes lead them to an apartment, where they find an emaciated man strapped to a bed. Though he initially appears to be dead, they find he has been kept alive and immobile by the killer for one year to that day; a drug dealer and child molester before his capture (representing sloth). Though unable to learn anything from the insensate man, the detectives agree the killer has planned these crimes for more than a year.
In 1947, John Nash (Crowe) arrives at Princeton University. He is co-recipient, with Martin Hansen (Lucas), of the prestigious Carnegie Scholarship for mathematics. At a reception, he meets a group of other promising math and science graduate students, Richard Sol (Goldberg), Ainsley (Jason Gray-Stanford), and Bender (Rapp). He also meets his roommate Charles Herman (Bettany), a literature student.
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.
Kevin Wendell Crumb souffre d'un trouble dissociatif de l'identité. Il échange régulièrement avec sa psychiatre dévouée, le docteur Fletcher, qui a déjà pu distinguer vingt-trois personnalités différentes s'exprimer à tour de rôle durant leurs conversations. Selon Fletcher, Kevin aurait subi des maltraitances et des humiliations au cours de son histoire et une 24 e personnalité, plus sombre et plus menaçante que toutes les autres, nommée « la Bête », demeure encore enfouie. Le docteur Fletcher met en exergue le fait que son patient s'est forgé ces nombreuses personnalités différentes dans un besoin existentiel de se protéger des autres. La situation se complique lorsque Kevin enlève trois jeunes filles.
Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is pulled from her training at the FBI Academy at Quantico, Virginia by Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) of the Bureau's Behavioral Science Unit. He assigns her to interview Hannibal Lecter, a former psychiatrist and incarcerated cannibalistic serial killer, whose insight might prove useful in the pursuit of a serial killer nicknamed "Buffalo Bill", who skins his female victims' corpses.
Chris Washington est un jeune photographe noir qui partage depuis plusieurs mois la vie de Rose Armitage. Il accepte de passer un week-end chez les parents de Rose, pour rencontrer sa belle-famille. Alors qu'il est inquiet des réactions que sa couleur de peau pourrait susciter, il est accueilli très chaleureusement par Dean et Missy Armitage. L'ambiance dans la grande propriété recèle cependant une atmosphère étrange, qui ne va pas en s'arrangeant lorsque les parents de Rose organisent une grande réception avec tous leurs proches.
David Dunn, l'homme « incassable », se lance à la poursuite de « La Bête », la personnalité surhumaine de Kevin Wendell Crumb. Elijah Price, le « Bonhomme qui casse », en hôpital psychiatrique depuis dix-neuf ans après avoir commis des attentats pour révéler les pouvoirs de Dunn, attend cet affrontement depuis sa cellule. Cependant, le docteur Ellie Staple veut les réunir pour les libérer de ce qu'elle considère comme un délire et les convaincre que leurs capacités surhumaines ne sont qu'une illusion.
Twenty-year-old Will Hunting (Damon) of South Boston is a self-taught, genius-level intellect with an eidetic memory, though he works simply as a janitor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and spends his free time drinking with his friends, Chuckie (Affleck), Billy (Cole Hauser) and Morgan (Casey Affleck). When Professor Gerald Lambeau (Skarsgård) posts a difficult problem taken from algebraic graph theory as a challenge for his graduate students, Will solves the problem anonymously, stunning both the graduate students and Lambeau himself. As a challenge to the unknown genius, Lambeau posts an even more difficult problem and chances upon Will solving it. Fearing he will lose his sole means of (a meager) income, Will flees and skips going into work the next day. That night, Will meets Skylar (Driver), a British orphan about to graduate from Harvard, who plans on attending medical school at Stanford.
"Pumpkin" (Tim Roth) and "Honey Bunny" (Amanda Plummer) are having breakfast in a diner, and discussing their life as robbers. They decide to rob the restaurant after realizing they could make money off the customers as well as the business, as they did during their previous heist. Moments after they initiate the hold-up, the scene breaks off and the title credits roll.