The IMF's target is an international chess grandmaster who also is planning to steal gold seized from the opposition movement of an unnamed Soviet Bloc country. Rollin poses as an amateur chess player, helped by a computer Barney is running that is unbeatable at chess. The plan, devised by Phelps, also calls for a devious way of snatching the gold from both the chess player and the authorities.
An emerald, with vital U.S. security information attached and hidden on it, has fallen into the hands of an arms dealer. What's more, a Soviet Bloc agent is determined to secure the emerald. Both will be on a cruise ship. Phelps and the IMF must both get the emerald and neutralize the opposition agent. Phelps' plan involves a high stakes poker game utilizing Barney's technology and Rollin's sleight of hand. But that's only the beginning.
Halder, who runs respectable medical clinics, is really a counterfeiter of drugs responsible for many deaths. The Impossible Missions Force aims to prove Halder's involvement in the production of the counterfeit drugs. As part of the plan, Phelps will pose as a federal drug enforcement agent who's willing to go on the take.
Jim Phelps is kidnapped by townspeople after learning they are part of an assassination network. The clock is ticking as a pair of assassins are en route to a perform a hit. The 'Force' must find and save Jim, then try to stop the impending assassination.
Bert Gordon has created a criminal organization that will get rid of anyone, anywhere -- no bodies are ever found. Gordon is untouchable through conventional means of investigation and prosecution. Phelps devises a plan that takes advantage of Gordon's superstitions. Phelps and Cinnamon pose as a bickering couple, where the wife is eager to employ Gordon's services. The IMF will also make it appear that the dead are trying to reach people in the world of the living. The goal is to manipulate Gordon into a fix where even he cannot escape from the law.
The IMF goes to a prison camp inside a totalitarian Latin American country. At the camp, an opposition leader is kept in isolation. One of his followers arranged to be arrested and has become a trustee, helping to get the opposition leader's messages out to his countrymen. Prisoners believe the trustee to be an informer. Phelps and Barney arrive as prisoners, aiming to expose the real informer. They're aided by Cinnamon (posing as a Red Cross official) and Rollin (as a guard). The question is whether Phelps can work fast enough to save an innocent man's life.
A U.S. bomber crashes behind the Iron Curtain. Its Fail-Safe device, however, failed to self destruct. A brilliant U.S. scientist who defected to the unnamed country is supervising efforts to take the device apart, which will yield valuable information about the entire U.S. defense system. The IMF must recover the Fail-Safe device and abduct the scientist. As part of the plan devised by Phelps, Rollin and Cinnamon will pose as U.S. scientists on a tour.
Phelps & Co. go after a crooked fight promoter who has gained a stranglehold over boxing and wants to extend the Syndicate's influence into other sports worldwide. The promoter is ruthless, as demonstrated when he orders a boxer killed because he would not take a dive. The IMF recruits a former fighter whose hands were ruined for boxing because of his military service. Barney trains as a boxer, assuming the former fighter's identity. Barney attracts the interest of the crooked promoter and is scheduled to box in a demonstration fight. Phelps, who is installing "...
Phelps narrowly avoids discovery by hoods (thanks to Rollin) and is able to complete installing special devices that will enable Barney to win his demonstration fight. Barney now becomes a contender for the title. Phelps & Co. also work to create doubt among the Syndicate backers of the crooked fight promoter being targeted by the IMF. But the job won't be easy. Before the mission is completed, Rollin's life will be endangered and Barney will be involved in a savage boxing match.
A mercenary army in Central Africa led by Krim is destabilizing the region, and stockpiling stolen gold. Phelps and the IMF capitalize on Krim's greed, and manipulate him into arranging the theft of his own gold bullion stored in a seemingly impenetrable vault.
A local mobster has taken over control of the food distribution throughout the U.S. In order to nail him, the IMF must get to his contract killer. So, an elaborate scheme is put into place where a prison is set up in a warehouse, and the killer is made to believe that he is going to be executed within the next 2 hours unless he turns informant on his boss.
Behind the Iron Curtain, an ambitious general has imprisoned a Cardinal who is his nation's spiritual leader. The general has replaced the Cardinal with a double. All the monks and nuns at a monastery where the Cardinal is staying are really troopers commanded by the general. The plot calls for the double to make a televised speech endorsing a takeover by the general. Phelps & Co. must rescue the Cardinal. The IMF's plan includes Rollin impersonating another Cardinal and Phelps pretending to be a doctor.
Riva Santel is the center of a national personality cult. She plans to suspend the upcoming elections and rule as a dictator. Craving eternal beauty even more than power, the IMF lead Santel to believe that Cinnamon is actually a woman in her late 60s. While Santel is preoccupied with the IMF rejuvenation procedure, Barney and Willy edit her national speech into a farewell address. In the end, an extremely youthful looking Riva Santel is kicked out of her own home by security personnel who don't recognize her.
Information vital to the defense of the U.S. has fallen into the hands of an enemy power. With no hope of retrieving it, the IMF stages an elaborate plot to try to make the foreign country's diplomats believe that the information is true -- hoping that if they discover that the U.S. is behind this plan, this knowledge will ironically cause them to disbelieve the information.
Milos Kuro, the Minister of Culture of the UCR, a country behind the Iron Curtain, bombards his country with anti-American propaganda, hoping to undermine the pro-Western Premier Leon Vados. The IMF tries to discredit Kuro by enticing him with an anti-American play that they hope he will stage in his home country -- then using some classic IMF techniques to make a few carefully calculated changes to the text of the play.
A former dictator, now in exile in Miami, plans to make a deal with the Syndicate -- they will finance the coup that will return him to rule his homeland in exchange for his promise to legalize gambling in the country once he regains power. The IMF agents use the dictator's fondness for gourmet food to gain entry to his house in order to make sure that the bargain never takes place.
Raymond Barret was the mastermind behind the robbery of an armored truck several years ago. He has changed his identity and is now serving a lesser charge in a federal prison waiting out the statute of limitations. When he's released he'll be able to recover the stolen cash. The IMF convinces Barret that he's suffering from a terminal illness. In desperation he turns to a doctor of cryogenics (Phelps) and blackmails him into freezing him until a cure can be found. Barret wakes up in "the future" but quickly discovers the ruse. Even though everything seems to have gone...