During World War II, legions of Italian soldiers invade the island of Cephallonia, Greece. Pelagia (Penelope Cruz), an educated and strong-willed woman, is forced to share her father's home with the newly arrived captain Antonio Corelli (Nicolas Cage), an officer with an irrepressibly jovial personality. While at first offended by the Italian soldier's behavior, Pelagia slowly warms to his certain charms. When Pelagia's fiancee heads off to war, the friendship between Antonio and Pelagia grows even stronger. Upon Musollini's surrender to the Allies, Antonio decides to join the Greek partisans in resisting the Germans. Although he promises he'll return to her when it's over, the two lovers both fear they will never see each other again.