Twilight Zone: The Movie is an anthology movie which is comprised of four separate stories, each with a different cast and director.
The movie begins when a man picks up a hitchhiker (Dan Aykroyd) at night. He attempts to frighten his passenger by turning out the lights and driving in the dark, veering all over the road. The pair then play Guess The Theme Tune, before the hitchhiker asks the driver if he wants to see something really scary. The driver humors him and pulls over, at which point the man turns into a demon, and attacks him.
The first segment tells the story of a bigoted man who learns a hard lesson.
Having just been passed over for promotion, the protagonist gets drunk at a local bar with his friends, and proceeds to racially abuse a number of the other drinkers. Angry, the man stumbles out alone into the street - and finds himself in France during the Second World War. There he is mistaken for a Jew, and hunted down by Nazis.
After being shot by one of them, he finds himself being hunted by the Ku Klux Klan, as they have mistaken him for an African American and want to lynch him. He then finds himself in Vietnam, being pursued by the US forces. After a grenade goes off near to him, he is thrown back to occupied France, where he is loaded into a wagon and driven off - presumably to a death camp. The story ends as he calls out to his friends, seen leaving the bar and searching for him. But they can't hear his cries for help.
Kick The Can
The second story focuses on the elderly residents of a retirement home, whose lives are changed when a new person (Scatman Crothers) comes to stay. The new resident is an upbeat, optimistic man who encourages the other residents not to resign themselves to old age. To prove his point, he asks the group to come outside and play with him at night and offers them a chance to feel the way they did as children.
He challenges the other residents to a game of Kick The Can, but something magical happens. As the residents join the game, they are transformed into their younger selves, reverting to their childhood states. They run around, playing and laughing together, before hurrying back to their rooms, not wanting the nursing staff to discover that they are gone.
Before long, the residents realise that their lives may not necessarily be easier as children. They do not want to be grounded, to do chores, to go to school all over again. They begin to miss their lives as adults, and to realise the value of their journeys and experiences. Except for one man, who decides he is never going back, and wishes to remain a child and start over. While he leaves, the other residents all change back - but find that the experience has given them a new lease of life.
The story ends as the mysterious new resident leaves, and checks into a new residential home.
It's A Good Life
The third story focuses on a young woman who meets a curious little boy while eating at a roadside diner. She sees the boy being picked on by a pair of local boys, and comes to his defence, but the child runs away. The woman leaves then, wanting to get to a job interview, but as she pulls out of the parking lot she hits the child's bicycle and knocks him down. Distressed, she offers to give him a ride home.
At the boy's home, she meets his family who are strangely sycophantic toward the boy, and seem a little too eager to please him. We soon find out that the boy has strange powers, and can alter reality with his mind. Far from being reverent, his family are afraid of him, and try to fulfill his every want and need so that he will not hurt them.
The boy eventually reveals that he is frustrated and lonely, that he hates the way others treat him. He makes his house and family disappear, stating that he does not want people around him if it makes them unhappy. The young woman offers to look after him, to teach him how to use his powers for good, and to control his impulses. The two drive away together and as they do, the boy wills beautiful flowers to appear along the side of the road for her.
Nightmare at 20,000 Feet
The fourth and final story is about a man (John Lithgow) with a paralysing phobia of flying. He has a panic attack in the plane's bathroom while flying, and after being reassured and talked into coming out, he returns to his seat and sees a monster through the window, scurrying around on the wing of the plane.
His fear mounts as he watches the creature, who seems to be causing damage to the aircraft, and he grows more anxious as time passes. He eventually snaps and lashes out, stealing a gun and firing it. He first shoots the window out, then tries to shoot the creature. It takes the gun, destroys it, and then grabs the man's face, chastising him with a wagging finger. As the plane begins to land, the monster leaps off into the night.
Once landed, the crew hand the man over to emergency staff, who place him in a straitjacket, load him onto a stretcher, and send him away in an ambulance. But further inspection reveals some unexplained and serious damage to the aircraft.
In the final scene, as the man from the plane lies in the back of the ambulance, we see that the driver is in fact the hitchhiker from the first segment. He asks the frightened man if he wants to see something really scary, and the film ends with the sound of the airplane passenger's screams.