As our understanding of the molecular aspects of human disease increases, it is becoming possible to create designer therapeutics that are exquisitely targeted and have greater efficacy and fewer side effects. One class of targeted biological agents that has benefited from recent advances in molecular biology is designer viruses. Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) is normally relatively innocuous but can be engineered to target cancer cells or to stimulate immunity against diseases such as AIDS or influenza. Strains of VSV that induce or direct the production of interferon are superior to wild-type strains of the virus for inducing oncolysis. These strains might also make better vaccine vectors. In this review, some of the features that make VSV an excellent platform for the development of a range of viral therapeutics are discussed.