The film starts before Christmas at Camp David. President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) is preparing to attend a fundraiser with his wife Margaret Asher (Ashley Judd), and son Connor (Finley Jacobsen). Also on the President's security detail, is Secret Service agent, Mike Banning (Gerard Butler). Banning is on good terms with the family, sparring with Benjamin in a private boxing ring, helping Margaret deciding on earrings to wear, and on friendly terms with Connor, whom ... more
The film starts before Christmas at Camp David. President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) is preparing to attend a fundraiser with his wife Margaret Asher (Ashley Judd), and son Connor (Finley Jacobsen). Also on the President's security detail, is Secret Service agent, Mike Banning (Gerard Butler). Banning is on good terms with the family, sparring with Benjamin in a private boxing ring, helping Margaret deciding on earrings to wear, and on friendly terms with Connor, whom Mike has been giving tips on being a good agent.
As the group leaves the Camp for the fundraiser, the snowfall outside begins to come down harder. While Ben and Margaret ride in the Presidential Limo, Connor is riding with Mike in an SUV following them. As they near a bridge over a river near the camp, the lead vehicle in the convoy hits a deer, causing a chain reaction of vehicular damage. One Secret Service SUV plows through the side of the bridge and crashes into the waters below. The Presidential Limo ends up skidding near the edge, balancing precariously.
Mike and several other agents rush to Ben and Margaret's aid, but Margaret's door is jammed, and the limo is still sliding over the edge. Several agents attempt to try and keep the vehicle from going over, but as their attempts fail, Mike makes a split-second decision, and cuts Ben out of his seatbelt, saving him, but unable to save Margaret, who goes over the edge in the limo.
The film then cuts to 18 months later. Since that time, Mike has taken a desk job with the US Treasury, still upset regarding the Camp David incident. He is unable to concentrate when his girlfriend attempts to tell him something, and he decides they should see a movie later that evening.
Before going to work, Ben has a morning breakfast meeting with Secret Service Director Lynn Jacobs (Angela Bassett), where the topic of the Camp David incident comes up. While Mike blames himself for what happened, Lynn explains that the President knows Mike did the right thing.
A few hours later, an envoy from South Korea arrives at the White House, to speak with President Asher regarding tension along the North Korean/South Korea de-militarized zone. As talks get underway, an AC-130 flies into the outer perimeter of restricted airspace surrounding the Capitol. A pair of F-22's flank the plane and demands that it changes course, when they are gunned down by side-weaponry on the airplane.
This causes Security detail inside the White House to move President Asher to a secure bunker beneath the White House. However, Asher breaks security protocol, when he requests that the South Korean Prime Minister and his associates be taken with him.
Meanwhile, the AC-130 flies over the Capitol grounds, strafing civilians before circling over the White House, and taking out several security forces nearby.
The sounds cause Mike to take notice, and he rushes from the Treasury building towards the White House. As he does, a bus that was carrying Asian tourists suddenly explodes, and Mike notices two men with backpacks approaching the White House fence. He takes down one of the men, but the other pulls a trigger on his backpack, and the explosive inside causes the suicide bomber to disintegrate, as a hole is blown in the fence of the White House.
Gas canisters are thrown onto the lawn, as several of the tourists (actually terrorists in disguise) put on masks, and charge through the hole, firing heavy weaponry, taking out numerous agents.
After recovering from the shock of the blast, Mike makes his way through the hole, following behind the terrorists, and taking them out as best he can. He eventually makes his way to the Cochere area. He and several others just have time to duck down, as two garbage trucks pull up and block the entrances to the building. After the wheels are blown on each of them (making them vehicular barricades), a gunman in secret compartment inside opens fire, finishing off most of the rest of the agents. One of the terrorists uses an RPG to blow open the closed doorway near Mike, and he and a few others attempt to get into the building.