To assess the usefulness of magnetic resonance (MR) angiography in the characterization of intracranial arterial stenosis and occlusion, a three-dimensional time-of-flight method was compared with conventional angiography in 214 vessels in 29 patients. Studies were independently interpreted by two neuroradiologists who scored each vessel as normal, narrowed, or occluded. Overall, 97% of normal vessels and 100% of occlusions were correctly graded. Sixty-one percent of stenoses were graded correctly; the remainder were graded as normal. The portions of the intracranial vessels near the skull base and especially the paracavernous and supraclinoid segments of the internal carotid arteries were areas of frequent over- and underestimation of stenosis due to the presence of dephasing artifacts. In patients with stenosis or occlusion, MR angiography also provided information regarding the presence of collateral flow in the circle of Willis. When used in conjunction with MR imaging of the brain and MR angiography of the extracranial carotid arteries, intracranial MR angiography allows a more complete evaluation of the patient with symptoms of cerebral ischemia or infarction.