In modern day San Francisco, a young geneticist named Will Rodman desperately searches for a way to cure his ailing father's Alzheimer's. After an accident leads to his chimpanzee test subjects being put down, he rescues one of their babies and takes him home to raise. As the chimp, named Caesar, becomes older, his intelligence grows rapidly. After he observes cruelty toward his kind in a primate sanctuary, Caesar rises up to lead his ape brothers and sisters to freedom. Caesar's leadership will provide the catalyst for a revolution that will ultimately spell the downfall of mankind and the rise of a planet of the apes.