The acquisition of conditional freezing is abolished by N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonism in the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA) during fear conditioning, suggesting that memory formation is prevented. The present study examined whether there is residual memory, or "savings," for fear conditioning in rats trained under amygdaloid NMDA receptor blockade. Rats infused with D,L-2-amino-5-phosphonovalerate (APV) into the BLA or central nucleus of the amygdala (CEA) during fear conditioning did not acquire either auditory or contextual fear conditioning. However, savings of conditional fear was exhibited by rats infused with APV into the CEA but not the BLA. These results suggest that both the BLA and CEA play a critical role in the acquisition of conditional fear but that the BLA is able to process and retain some aspects of aversive memories in the absence of the CEA.