Fred C. Dobbs and Bob Curtin, both down on their luck in Tampico, Mexico in 1925, meet up with a grizzled prospector named Howard and decide to join with him in search of gold in the wilds of central Mexico. Through enormous difficulties, they eventually succeed in finding gold, but bandits, the elements, and most especially greed threaten to turn their success into disaster.
Private Investigator Philip Marlowe is hired by wealthy General Sternwood regarding a matter involving his youngest daughter Carmen. Before the complex case is over, Marlowe sees murder, blackmail, deception, and what might be love.
At the start of the first World War, in the middle of Africa’s nowhere, a gin soaked riverboat captain is persuaded by a strong-willed missionary to go down river and face-off a German warship.
In New York, the boys Rocky Sullivan and Jerry Connelly are best friends and small time thieves. After a robbery, Rocky is arrested and sent to a reformatory school, where he begins his criminal career. Jerry escapes and later becomes a priest. After three years in prison, Rocky is released and demands the return of $100,000 deposited with his Solicitor – prior to his jail term.
The script, which was written on a day-to-day basis as the film was being shot, concerns the adventures of a motley crew of swindlers and ne’er-do-wells trying to lay claim to land rich in uranium deposits in Kenya as they wait in a small Italian port to travel aboard an ill-fated tramp steamer en route to Mombasa.
Judith Traherne is at the height of young society when Dr. Frederick Steele diagnoses a brain tumor. After surgery she falls in love with Steele. The doctor tells her secretary that the tumor will come back and eventually kill her. Learning this, Judith becomes manic and depressive. Her horse trainer Michael, who loves her, tells her to get as much out of life as she can. She marries Steele who intends to find a cure for her illness. As he goes off to a conference in New York failing eyesight indicates to Judith that she is dying.
Juliet Forrest is convinced that the reported death of her father in a mountain car crash was no accident. Her father was a prominent cheese scientist working on a secret recipe. To prove it was murder, she enlists the services of private eye Rigby Reardon. He finds a slip of paper containing a list of people who are “The Friends and Enemies of Carlotta.”
Has-been director Harry Dawes gets a new lease on his career when independently wealthy Kirk Edwards hires him to write and direct a film. They go to Madrid to find Maria Vargas, a dancer who will star in the film. Millionaire Alberto Bravano takes Maria from Kirk. Count Vincenzo Torlato-Favrini takes Maria from Alberto.
A hurricane swells outside, but it’s nothing compared to the storm within the hotel at Key Largo. There, sadistic mobster Johnny Rocco holes up – and holds at gunpoint hotel owner James Temple, his widowed daughter-in-law Nora, and ex-GI Frank McCloud.
Jobless sportswriter Eddie Willis is hired by corrupt fight promoter Nick Benko to promote his current protégé, an unknown Argentinian boxer named Toro Moreno. Although Moreno is a hulking giant, his chances for success are hampered by a powder-puff punch and a glass jaw. Exploiting Willis’ reputation for integrity and standing in the boxing community, Benko arranges a series of fixed fights that propel the unsophisticated Moreno to #1 contender for the championship. The reigning champ, the sadistic Buddy Brannen, harbors resentment at the publicity Toro has been receiving and vows to viciously punish him in the ring. Eddie must now decide whether or not to tell the naive Toro the truth.
Sergeant Joe Gunn and his tank crew pick up five British soldiers, a Frenchman and a Sudanese man with an Italian prisoner crossing the Libyan Desert to rejoin their command after the fall of Tobruk. Tambul, the Sudanese leads them to an abandoned desert fortress where they hope to find water. Soon a detachment of German soldiers arrives and attempts to barter food for water, but Gunn and his followers refuse. When the Germans attack, Gunn leads his desert-weary men in a desperate battle, hoping that British reinforcements can arrive in time.
Linus and David Larrabee are the two sons of a very wealthy family. Linus is all work — busily running the family corporate empire, he has no time for a wife and family. David is all play — technically he is employed by the family business, but never shows up for work, spends all his time entertaining, and has been married and divorced three times. Meanwhile, Sabrina Fairchild is the young, shy, and awkward daughter of the household chauffeur, who has been infatuated with David all her life, but David hardly notices her — “doesn’t even know I exist” — until she goes away to Paris for two years, and returns an elegant, sophisticated, beautiful woman. Suddenly, she finds that she has captured David’s attention, but just as she does so, she finds herself falling in love with Linus, and she finds that Linus is also falling in love with her.
After the WWI Armistice Lloyd Hart goes back to practice law, former saloon keeper George Hally turns to bootlegging, and out-of-work Eddie Bartlett becomes a cab driver. Eddie builds a fleet of cabs through delivery of bootleg liquor and hires Lloyd as his lawyer. George becomes Eddie’s partner and the rackets flourish until love and rivalry interfere.
Union officer Kerry Bradford escapes from a Confederate prison and races to intercept $5 million in gold destined for Confederate coffers. A Confederate sympathizer and a Mexican bandit, each with their own stake in the loot, stand in his way.
McCord’s gang robs the stage carrying money to pay Indians for their land, and the notorious outlaw “The Oklahoma Kid” Jim Kincaid takes the money from McCord. McCord stakes a “sooner” claim on land which is to be used for a new town; in exchange for giving it up he gets control of gambling and saloons. When Kincaid’s father runs for mayor, McCord incites a mob to lynch the old man whom McCord has already framed for murder.