We show that the Drosophila gene rhea, isolated because its wing blister phenotype is typical of mutants affecting integrin function, encodes talin. Embryos deficient in talin have very similar phenotypes to integrin (betaPS) null embryos, including failure in germ band retraction and muscle detachment. We demonstrate that talin is not required for the presence of integrins on the cell surface or their localization at muscle termini. However, talin is required for formation of focal adhesion-like clusters of integrins on the basal surface of imaginal disc epithelia and junctional plaques between muscle and tendon cells. These results indicate that talin is essential for integrin function and acts by stably linking clusters of ECM-linked integrins to the cytoskeleton.