Plot SummaryIt was supposed to be a relatively simple job: a rogue agent is trying to steal (half of) the CIA's NOC list, a list of all "Non-Official Cover" agents all over the world, and sell it to the highest bidder. So Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), Jim Phelps (Jon Voight) and the Impossible Mission Force (IMF) assemble their team to attend an embassy party in Prague and locate whoever is trying to steal the NOC list, track him to the buyer, and kill them both.
After assembling the team, the plan goes horribly wrong as the agents of the IMF die off one by one, including the courier who was supposedly delivering the NOC list. The only known survivor of the botched mission is Hunt (aside from Claire, the wife of Jim Phelps), so the CIA Director Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny) naturally assumes that Hunt is the double agent he was trying to root out. Hunt escapes from the CIA's grasp and decides to conduct his own investigation. His efforts lead him into the sights of a reclusive arms dealer known only as "Max," who informs him that her contact for the NOC list handoff was someone who went by the codename of Job. If Ethan can come up with the other half of the list, then Max will deliver Job to him.
In order to root out the mole, Hunt assembles a team consisting of disavowed former agents including the skilled chopper pilot Franz Krieger (Jean Reno) and super-hacker Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) to help him break into the CIA's ultra-secure vault, steal the NOC list, and bring it to Max to use as leverage to find the real mole who led his IMF team to be massacred in Prague. However, the supposedly-dead Phelps resurfaces and claims that Kittridge himself was the mole. While Hunt listens he pieces together what really happened during the operation and realizes that Phelps is really "Job". Hunt merely pretends to accept Phelps's story in order to buy time and uncover Claire's place in the conspiracy.
Max and Ethan arrange to meet aboard a bullet train en route to Paris from London via the Channel Tunnel. Kittridge is also aboard secretly working with Hunt who has alerted him to Phelps's re-emergence. Aboard the train, Hunt delivers the NOC list to Max, the arms dealer, who directs him to the baggage car to find his money and Job. Luther jams the signal preventing Max from truly downloading the NOC list as Claire arrives in the baggage car to meet with Phelps who is actually Ethan in disguise. She reveals her duplicity before Hunt unmasks himself. The real Phelps then appears and demands the money. Hunt slowly puts on a pair of glasses which conceal a camera, alerting Kittridge of Phelps's presence. Exposed, Phelps fleas with the stolen money after taking both Ethan and Claire down, killing the latter.
Ethan, after regaining consciousness, manages to purse Phelps onto the roof of the speeding train where he sees Krieger in a helicopter attempting to provide Phelps with a getaway. Hunt tethers Krieger's helicopter to the train thus dragging it into the Channel Tunnel. Phelps leaps to the helicopter, as does Hunt who attaches an explosive to the wind-shield, then leaps back to the train just as the helicopter explodes.
Kittridge apprehends Max and retrieves the NOC list into CIA possession . Some time later, Kittridge reinstates both Ethan Hunt and Luther Stickell. Luther asks Ethan if he will resume his duties as an IMF agent, and Ethan suggests he will likely walk away. As he flies home however, a flight attendant approaches and asks him through a coded phrase if he is ready to take on a new mission...