- Directors: Steven Lisberger
- Producers: Donald Kushner
- Writers: Story, Steven Lisberger, Bonnie MacBird, Screenplay, Steven Lisberger
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller
- Actors: Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan, Barnard Hughes, Dan Shor
Kevin Flynn is a young and gifted software engineer who works for the software corporation ENCOM, creating several video games on the company’s mainframe after hours, aiming to start his own game company. However, an ambitious ENCOM programmer named Ed Dillinger locks Flynn out of the system and presents Flynn’s work as his own. Dillinger earns himself a series of executive promotions, while Flynn (canned by Dillinger) is relegated to opening a video game arcade, featuring the games that he created. From then to the present, Flynn tries to hack into the ENCOM mainframe to find evidence of Dillinger’s wrongdoing, but his program, Clu, is caught and erased by the Master Control Program (MCP).
The MCP, with Dillinger’s authorization, shuts down access to the security group Flynn is using, inadvertently locking out another ENCOM employee, Alan Bradley. Alan goes to speak to Dillinger and reveals that he was working on a security program, Tron, which would monitor communications between the MCP and the outside world. After Alan leaves, the MCP confronts Dillinger about this, stating that it cannot afford to have programs monitoring it. It reveals its intention to break into the Pentagon and other military mainframes, claiming it can run things “900 to 1200 times better than any human.” When Dillinger attempts to assert his authority, the MCP essentially blackmails him into complying with its wishes.
Dillinger comes into work the next morning to find the MCP non-functional and the same evidence displayed on his screen. He’s almost relieved not to be a blackmail victim anymore, but it’s only a matter of time before ENCOM fires him. Flynn later becomes the new CEO of ENCOM.