Phantom of the Opera is set in the year 1919. It starts with an auction of the things from Opera Populaire’s vaults. When a shattered chandelier is put up for bidding, it brings back memories of the Phantom of the Opera.
In the year 1870, Richard Firmin and Gilles Andre purchases the opera from the manager, Monsieur Lefevre amidst the rehearsals for the grand opera, Hannibal. The new owners are listening to one of the sopranos sing when the backdrop collapses behind her. People from the theater highly think that the incident was caused by the “Opera Ghost” rumored to be roaming in the grounds beneath the theater. This causes the opera singer to quit and the managers have nothing left to do but to cancel the performance. However, the ballet mistress suggests that the lead opera singer be replaced by a dancer named Christine Daae. With some doubts the managers concur but when they hear Christine sing, they know that they made the right choice.
Christine’s opera debut is a success and she tells the ballet mistress that it was all thanks to the “Angel of Music” who has been teaching her how to sing ever since. Later, the Phantom of the Opera appears in Christine’s dressing room and he takes her to his lair underground.
In the lair, the Phantom professes his love for Christine. The next day, as she sees the Phantom writes some music, Christine removes his mask. This enrages the Phantom who desperately tries to cover his face with his hands. Christine’s heart melts when she sees him in such a state making her return the mask to him. Christine’s gesture of sympathy makes the Phantom decide to return her to the opera.
During a performance, the chief stagehand gets hanged by the Phantom. Christine seeks refuge from her childhood friend, Raoul, who has romantic feelings for her. When she shares to him her knowledge about the Phantom of the Opera. Raoul vows to protect Christine from any harm that the Phantom of the Opera may inflict on her. The Phantom sees them together and he sets on inflicting vengeance on them.
After three months, the Phantom gate crashes a masquerade party in the opera house. He commands the managers to use his own composition, Don Juan Triumphant. The Phantom also sees that Christine is wearing an engagement ring. He rips if off before disappearing again. Raoul comes in and tries to go after the Phantom but the ballet manager prevents him from doing so. From the ballet manager, Raoul learns how the Phantom has suffered from abuse when he was part of a freak circus. When the Phantom killed the ringmaster, the ballet manager helped the Phantom and made him stay in the crypts of the opera house.
When Christine visits her father’s grave, the Phantom disguises as his chauffer. Raoul on the other hand comes right after her when he realizes that she’s missing. He finds the Phantom and Christine in the cemetery. The two men fight with their swords. The Phantom overwhelms Raoul but Christine begs him not to take Raoul’s life.
Raoul plans to entrap the Phantom with the performance of Don Juan Triumphant. During the performance, the Phantom appears and acts with Christine. In the middle of an act, Christine snatches away the Phantom’s mask. The audience scream in terror and the Phantom kidnaps her again after letting the chandelier fall on the stage.
After learning where the Phantom secretly lives, Raoul goes after Christine to rescue her. However, he gets caught by the Phantom. The Phantom threatens to end Raoul’s life if Christine does not marry him. Christine kisses the Phantom and shows him that it is impossible for him to be loved. The Phantom then realizes his mistakes and he lets Raoul and Christine go. As a memento, Christine leaves him her engagement ring. Afterwards, the Phantom disappears into oblivion.
The movie ends with Raoul visiting Christine’s tomb where he finds a red rose tied with a black ribbon.