The action starts in Egypt 1914. A professor is deciphering some symbols scratched on the wall. It says that every five thousand years the gate of evil opens. Another picture shows four elements of nature being arranged around the fifth element. The priest comes, and listens what the professor is saying, and with words that he knows so much offers him poisoned water. The professor says that on this wall the plan of battle between good and evil is described, that he is going to be famous after such a discovery, and it is not good to celebrate it with water, so he does not want to drink water.
At that moment a space ship lands and few aliens come out. The priest calls them Mondoshawans. The main of them says that the war is about to engulf the planet and that the Earth is not a safe place for elements. With a little key he opens the wall. They took away four stones symbolizing elements of nature, and the fifth one – human-shaped statue. The Master says that in 300 years, when the evil will come they will return as well. The aliens leave giving the priest the key to the wall.
The next scene takes place 300 years later. In the space a huge ball-shaped object is being attacked by a military space ship. Its captain is talking with the President, who is in New York in the Headquarters. They start shooting into the object, but it becomes only larger and finally destroys the space ship. The priest, Cornelius, who is present in the Headquarters says that this thing is absolute evil.
The priest tells the president about this thing, its goal is to destroy everything alive. But there is a way out, the five elements, and Mondoshawans (the aliens that had taken it) are to arrive soon and bring the elements back. The President lets the Mondoshawans’ space ship to land, but at that moment it has been attacked by two unknown warships.
At the place of the accident only one survivor is found. It is brought into the laboratory where from its sells a human body is being constructed. It is a woman with red hair. She is very frightened, and starts to speak an unknown language. She is very strong as has managed to broke the glass she is kept in and to run away. When police are after her and seems there is no place to run, she jumps down from the high building. She gets into a taxi.
The driver of the taxi is a retired major Korben. He is not a very good taxi-driver and there is only one point left on his license. The woman asks him of help, the police is ready to take her away. She began crying begging him for help, so he drives his taxi away with the woman inside. The police car is after them. Kobren manages to escape from police. In the car woman says: “Priest, Vito Cornelius” and faints. Korben finds this name in the phone guide and brings her there. The priest says that he does not know her, but after seeing the tattoo on her hand say: “The Fifth Element” and also faints.
When everyone recovers the consciousness it becomes known that woman’s name is Leeloo. It seems that Korben falls in love with her. The priest makes him leave.
Leeloo is studying the history of last five thousand years that she has been asleep. The priest asks her where is the box with elements, and she replies that it has been stolen. But there was nothing in that box, the elements are in a person she, Leeloo, is to meet on the planet Fhloston, in the Angel constellation.
Mr. Zorg is a person who has stolen the box, but it turns out to be empty. He is very angry and arranges his people to find the stones. One of his best man finds out in the President’s office that the stones are to be handed on the planet Fhloston. And the person who is supposed to give them is called Plavalaguna, she is a Diva and is to give a concert in the hotel on this planet. She has the stones. The President demands to send there their best agent. Their choice falls upon Korben.
The concert is organized very seriously, it is not so easy to get there in four hours, but the authorities have rigged the contest and Major Korben is the one who won two tickets to the concert. Everyone finds out about this. Leeloo came with the priest and steal the tickets. There have been a lot of noise in the airport but Korben manages to get to the ship with Leeloo. They are off to the planet Fhloston. The forces of evil also have taken off to this place in order to steal the stones.
They have arrived on Fhloston, but there is too much attention to Korben as he is a winner of the contest, especially on the part of Ruby Rhod, who is a radio star. He sits near Korben in the concert. Korben is not happy about that. The Diva starts to sing, her voice sounds magnificent. Everyone, including Korben, is amazed by her singing.
Meanwhile Leeloo is waiting for Diva near her room, but there come the Mangalores, the evil creatures and Leeloo recognizes in them those who had attacked her ship in the beginning of the story. She has to act. Being very strong she manages to fight them, but there enters Zorg himself. He demands to give him the box with stones. Leeloo throws him the box and jumps up into the ventilation system. He continues shooting up and wounds her really bad, and leaves with the box.
The Mangalores attack the concert hall and the Diva is wounded. Korben rushes to help her. She says that she should give the stones to the fifth element, who is very strong and came to save the planet, but she is also very vulnerable and needs help and love. Korben asks where are the stones, she answers “in me” and dies. Korben gets the stones out of her.
There are a lot of Mangalores there, but being a very skillful agent he kills them all. Ruby’s radio translation has been on during all this time so the whole world heard what had happened there. Korben finds Leeloo badly wounded. Ruby noticed the bomb on the door, which Zorg has left. There are only five minutes left to the explosion. The evacuation starts, everyone in panic rushes to the evaluation ships. Korben, Ruby, Leeloo and the Priest leave the hotel at the very last minute. They are off to the Earth, to Egypt where priest’s helper, David, is waiting with the key to the wall.
Meanwhile the burning ball-shaped object starts to move and goes directly to the Earth. There are only two hours left before it reaches the planet. When Korben with the rest arrives in Egypt they put four elements around the fifth one, but the mechanism does not work. The priest does not know how to make it work. Four of them stands at each stone, David sighs and the stone moves. They understood – each element symbolizes elements of nature so they blow over one, put soil, fire and water on the rest, so they all open. But Leeloo does not want to save the Earth as people are very cruel. Korben tries to convince her that there are things worthy saving like love and kisses her. A ray of light rushes from her right into the moving ball and stops it 100 km from the surface of the Earth planet.
President himself wishes to gratitude Korben, but he and Leeloo are busy making love, so are not in mood of any conversations.