For thousands of years, Earth has been the holding the four elemental stones and fifth element in the form of a human being needed to combat the The Ultimate Evil and save the world. In the early 20th century, an alien race known as the Mondoshawans collect the five elements in order to protect them from the servants of The Evil.
300 years later, the Mondoshawans are on their way to Earth when they are assaulted by alien guerillas known as Mangalores. All that can be salvaged from the wreckage is the hand of the Fifth Element. Earth's scientists manage to clone the being from this, mesmerised at its flawless DNA. The clone is revealed to be a young caucasian woman who speaks an ancient language. The woman escapes the lab and lands in the back seat of Korben Dallas' taxi.
Korben takes the young woman home and manages to find our her name is Leeloo. He takes her to Father Vito Cornelius, a local priest in the hopes of finding out about her language and the tattoo on her wrist that shows the symbols of the five elements. As Cornelius translates Leeloo's words, they find out that the four stones have been entrusted to another. Leeloo then starts surfing the web attempting to learn as much about modern Earth as she can. She gets to the letter "V" before Cornelius and his assistant David go after Korben, who has won a trip to space. The trip was rigged by the Special Forces as Korben was a former member who has been re-drafted for the upcoming war.
Father Vito Cornelius, David and Leeloo break into Korben's home, knock him out and take his tickets. Korben recovers and decides to follow them. Korben manges to get a hold of Leeloo and makes his way into space while Cornelius and David decide to wait for them in Egypt, where the altar for the five elements are to be placed. Leeloo by now can speak English and tells Korben that she will protect him.
On the cruise, Korben is invited to watch the performance of the alien singer Diva Plavalaguna. As she performs, Leeloo is attacked by Mangalores, who have snuck onto te cruise ship. She manages to fight them off, but this only drives them to attack the other passengers, Diva Plavalaguna is shot and Korben rushes to her aid. The diva tells Korben that despite Leeloo's tough front, she needs him to be there for her. Plavalaguna further tells Corben that she's carrying the elemental stones inside herself. When she dies, Korben cuts her open and pulls out the four stones. He finds Leeloo, who has been critically injured, and they return to Earth.
While on their way to Egypt, Leeloo researches the letter "W", only to be disillusioned when she sees how much information there is under the title "War". As the Ultimate Evil descends upon Earth, Korben gets Leeloo to the altar and he, Cornelius, David and a tagalong form the cruise ship awaken the stones. Leeloo refuses to call on her own power as she sees no reason to save the world. Korben confesses his love for Leeloo, which gives her the strength to release her element which when combined with the other four kills the Ultimate Evil.