Around 1872, an English gentleman Phileas Fogg (David Niven) claims he can circumnavigate the world in eighty days. He makes a wager with several skeptical fellow members of his London gentlemen's club, the Reform Club, that he can arrive back within 80 days.
Together with his resourceful valet, Passepartout (Mario Moreno 'Cantinflas'), Fogg sets out on his journey from Paris via a hot air balloon. Meanwhile, suspicion grows that Fogg has stolen 55,000 from the Bank of England so Police Inspector Fix (Robert Newton) is sent out by Ralph the bank president (Robert Morley) to trail and arrest Fogg. Hopscotching around the globe, Fogg pauses in Spain, where Passepartout engages in a comic bullfight. In India, Fogg and Passepartout rescue young widow Princess Aouda (Shirley MacLaine) from being forced into a funeral pyre with her late husband. The threesome visit Hong Kong, Japan, San Francisco, and the Wild West. Only hours short of winning his wager, Fogg is arrested upon returning to London, by the diligent yet misguided Inspector Fix.
At the jail, the humiliated Fix informs Fogg that the real culprit was caught in Brighton. Though eventually exonerated of the charges, he has lost everything except the love of the winsome Aouda. But salvation is at hand when Passepartout realizes the next morning that, by crossing the International Date Line, they have gained a day. There is still time to reach the Reform Club and win the bet. To the surprise of all waiting at the club, Fogg arrives just before the clock's chime at 8:45 pm. Aouda and Passepartout then arrive. Noticing Fogg's whole travel party is here, Ralph announces the end of the journey.