Distinguishing the specific effects of neuroleptics on one particular behaviour from its non-specific effects on motility is not easy. In this study, the effects of five neuroleptics on spontaneous motor activity were compared and the ED(50) values of these drugs to impair activity were calculated. Male and female mice were evaluated in an actimeter or in a shuttle-box used as an open field after the administration of chlorpromazine (0.4, 1.2, 3.6 mg/kg), haloperidol (0.1, 0.3, 0.9 mg/kg), raclopride (0.1, 0.3, 0.9 mg/kg), sulpiride (10, 30, 90 mg/kg) and clozapine (0.4, 1.2, 3.6 mg/kg), and two automatic and two observational activity measures were obtained. A very high correlation between automatic and observational measures, absence of sex differences, and a dose-dependent decrease of activity were observed with every compound. The results allow us to make accurate comparisons between these drugs in their potency in reducing spontaneous motor activity.