Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is a software engineer formerly employed by ENCOM, having been fired by Ed Dillinger (David Warner) who stole several video games designed by Flynn to gain a series of promotions. Flynn attempts to obtain evidence of Dillinger's action, but is prevented by the Master Control Program (MCP), an artificial intelligence that controls the ENCOM mainframe and seeks control over other mainframes too. Dillinger attempts to stop the MCP after it reveals its intentions to hack into and gain control of the Pentagon and Kremlin, but he's blackmailed by the MCP, which threatens to reveal to the media of his plagiarism of Flynn's games, which are hugely successful.
Visited by ENCOM employees Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) and Lora Baines (Cindy Morgan) who warn him that Dillinger knows about his hacking attempts and has tightened security, Flynn persuades them to admit him into ENCOM's buildings. There, he forges a higher security clearance for Bradley's program "Tron", which would monitor communications between the MCP and the outside world; whereupon the MCP uses an experimental laser to transfer Flynn into the ENCOM mainframe.
In the mainframe, computer programs appear in the likeness of the human "users" who created them, and they wield their main weapon called an "identity disc" thrown at their enemies. Here, the MCP and its second-in-command, Sark (Warner), seek control over input/output in the system. Programs resistant to their rule are forced to play in martial games in which the losers are destroyed. Imprisoned by Sark, Flynn meets Tron (Boxleitner) and another program named Ram. Together, they escape their prison during a Light Cycle match. During their flight, Ram is mortally wounded and dies, but Flynn gradually discovers that,as a User, he is capable of manipulating the reality of the digital world.
At an input/output junction, Tron communicates with Bradley and receives instructions about how to destroy the MCP. Tron, Flynn, and another program named Yori (Morgan) board a "solar sailer simulation" to reach the MCP's core; but Sark's command ship destroys the sailer, capturing Flynn and Yori. Sark leaves the command ship and orders its destruction, but Flynn keeps it intact while Sark reaches the MCP's core on a shuttle, carrying captured programs. Tron then confronts Sark outside the core while the MCP attempts to consume the captives. Tron critically damages Sark and attacks the MCP; whereupon the MCP raises a shield around its core and re-empowers Sark against Tron, transferring all its powers to him. Flynn kisses Yori and then to circumvent the MCP, Flynn leaps into it, distracting it long enough to reveal a gap in its shield, through which Tron destroys it (and also Sark) with his disc. Input/output junctions are illuminated as programs begin to communicate with their users, and Flynn is reconstructed in the real world. A nearby printer produces the evidence that Dillinger had plagiarized his creations; and Dillinger, entering his office, finds the proof broadcast and the MCP inactive. Flynn takes his place as executive of ENCOM, while Bradley and Baines remain his closest friends.
- Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn/Clu
- Bruce Boxleitner as Alan Bradley/Tron
- David Warner as Ed Dillinger/Sark/Master Control Program
- Cindy Morgan as Lora Baines/Yori
- Barnard Hughes as Walter Gibbs/Dumont
- Dan Shor as Roy Kleinberg/Ram
- Peter Jurasik as Crom
In 2003, Tron 2.0, a computer game based on the world of Tron was released. The sequel takes place in the modern day, where Alan Bradley is digitized into the computer world and must be saved by his son, Jet. The game was intended as a sequel to the film. Bruce Boxleitner reprises his role as Alan, while Cindy Morgan assumes the role of Ma3a, and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos voices Mercury, a program who assists Jet throughout the game.
In 2010, a film sequel was released into theaters. Tron: Legacy stars Jeff Bridges, reprising his role as Kevin Flynn; and Garrett Hedlund as his son, Sam.