Cell-adhesion molecules localized at adherens junctions (AJs) maintain the polarized architecture of epithelial cells but limit their movements. The morphogenesis of a developing epithelium is associated with the control of both cell shape and cell contacts. Epithelial cells remodel their contacts, and intercellular adhesion controlled by cadherin molecules is spatially and temporally regulated. Cell shape depends, in part, on the regulation of cell adhesion between different groups of cells. Patterned epithelial cell movements such as those that occur during cell intercalation--a universal process whereby cells exchange neighbors--rely on the polarized remodeling of AJs. Recent studies show that the understanding of adhesion will benefit from studies of developing organisms in which adhesion is regulated.