Our aim was to review the MRI appearances of primary intracranial germ-cell tumours (GCT). We reviewed the MRI studies of 32 patients: 19 with germinomas, five with teratomas, one with an embryonal carcinoma, five with mixed and two with malignant nongerminomatous GCT. Eleven were in the pineal region, 12 suprasellar, five in the both sites, two in the basal ganglia and two in the corpus callosum. Contrast-enhanced images were available for 27 patients. The solid parts of GCT were nearly isointense with grey matter on both T1- and T2-weighted images. In seven patients with nongerminomatous GCT high-signal components were found on T1-weighted images, representing haemorrhage, high-protein fluid or fat. Cystic components were detected in 17 of 27 patients; eight germinomas and all nine nongerminomatous GCT had cysts. The solid components of germinomas enhanced homogeneously in eight cases and heterogeneously in 10, while all nongerminomatous GCT showed heterogeneous enhancement. MRI features tumours can facilitate correct diagnosis of GCT, including histological subtypes.