An young Israeli activist fights to set up a homeland for the Jewish people.
An Israeli activist Ari (Paul Newman) attempts to get as many ex-European Israelis out of Cyprus containment camps, where they have been taken by the British after WWII. Palestine doesnt want them and neither does anybody else. But Ari decides to get as many as possible to Palestine in hopes of forcing the United Nations hand in setting up an Israeli Free State there.
After getting 600 onto a ship and being blockaded by the British in Cyprus, he manages to get the ship to Palestine where he comes into conflict with the Arab leader, once a childhood friend.
The film title is taken from the 1958 book by Leon Uris, who took the eponymous title from the name of the ship, Exodus.