In ancient Athens, renowned philosopher and staunch idealist Socrates (Peter Ustinov) is charged with crimes regarding his anti-establishment views and teachings. Facing the death penalty, Socrates is momentarily spared when the Spartans occupy the city and King Pausanias (Anthony Quayle) discontinues the trial because he likes the grizzled philosopher. But Socrates won't compromise his principles, and he asks that democracy be restored -- even if it spells his own doom at the city's hands.
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