Veronica (Winona Ryder) is part of the most popular clique at her high school, but she disapproves of the other girls’ cruel behavior. When Veronica and her new boyfriend, J.D. (Christian Slater), confront clique leader Heather Chandler (Kim Walker) and accidentally poison her, they make it appear a suicide. Soon Veronica realizes that J.D. is intentionally killing students he does not like. She races to stop J.D. while also clashing with the clique’s new leader, Heather Duke (Shannen Doherty).
High school wrestler Louden Swain (Matthew Modine) feels he must do something significant in his life shortly after turning 18. Despite vehement advice against it from his father (Ronny Cox) and coach (Charles Hallahan), Swain decides to try to lose over 20 pounds in a very short time in an attempt to take on the defending state champion of a lower weight class. Meanwhile, he falls for the edgy, older Carla (Linda Fiorentino), who provides further distraction for the young wrestler.
Slow-witted Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) has never thought of himself as disadvantaged, and thanks to his supportive mother (Sally Field), he leads anything but a restricted life. Whether dominating on the gridiron as a college football star, fighting in Vietnam, or captaining a shrimp boat, Forrest inspires people with his childlike optimism. But one person Forrest cares about most may be the most difficult to save — his childhood love, the sweet but troubled Jenny (Robin Wright).
Mathilda (Natalie Portman) is only 12 years old, but is already familiar with the dark side of life: her abusive father stores drugs for corrupt police officers, and her mother neglects her. Léon (Jean Reno), who lives down the hall, tends to his houseplants and works as a hired hitman for mobster Tony (Danny Aiello). When her family is murdered by crooked DEA agent Stansfield (Gary Oldman), Mathilda joins forces with a reluctant Léon to learn his deadly trade and avenge her family’s deaths.
Mentally disabled Karl Childers (Billy Bob Thornton) is released from the mental hospital where he has spent most of his life after murdering his mother and her lover. He soon forms a bond with Frank (Lucas Black), a boy whose father committed suicide. When Frank’s mother, Linda (Natalie Canerday), lets Karl stay at their house, her cruel boyfriend, Doyle (Dwight Yoakam), tries to get Karl removed. Determined to protect his friend, Karl devises a way to save Frank from years of Doyle’s abuse.
Former policeman Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes) has moved into a more lucrative trade: the illegal sale of virtual reality-like recordings that allow users to experience the emotions and past experiences of others. While the bootlegs typically contain tawdry incidents, Nero is shocked when he receives one showing a murder. He enlists a friend, bodyguard Mace (Angela Bassett), to help find the killer and the two soon stumble upon a vast conspiracy involving the police force Nero once worked for.
Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) takes his men behind enemy lines to find Private James Ryan, whose three brothers have been killed in combat. Surrounded by the brutal realities of war, while searching for Ryan, each man embarks upon a personal journey and discovers their own strength to triumph over an uncertain future with honor, decency, and courage.
Tale in which a truck driver with a lucrative sideline in arm-wrestling takes his estranged 12-year-old son on the road after the boy’s mother falls seriously ill. The trucker is beginning to reach out to the boy as the pair head for Vegas and the arm wrestling world championships, but the lad’s wealthy, unfeeling grandfather sends his thugs to put a stop to the bonding and bring the boy back.
Divorced dad Scott (Tim Allen) has custody of his son (Eric Lloyd) on Christmas Eve. After he accidentally kills a man in a Santa suit, they are magically transported to the North Pole, where an elf explains that Scott must take Santa’s place before the next Christmas arrives. Scott thinks he’s dreaming, but over the next several months he gains weight and grows an inexplicably white beard. Maybe that night at the North Pole wasn’t a dream after all — and maybe Scott has a lot of work to do.
On one random day in the San Fernando Valley, a dying father, a young wife, a male caretaker, a famous lost son, a police officer in love, a boy genius, an ex-boy genius, a game show host and an estranged daughter will each become part of a dazzling multiplicity of plots, but one story.