A number of substituted N-[(1-benzyl-2-pyrrolidinyl)methyl]benzamides and -salicylamides have been prepared and investigated as dopamine D-2 receptor antagonists in vitro and in vivo. The affinity was found to be confined to the R enantiomer, in contrast to the corresponding N-ethyl or N-allyl derivatives. The X-ray structure of one of the compounds (15) confirmed the R stereochemistry. This compound (15) was found to adopt a solid-state conformation in which the 4-fluorobenzyl group is folded over the salicylamide moiety. Benzamides having a 2,3-dimethoxy substitution pattern (24 and 26) or salicylamides with a 5,6-dimethoxy grouping (21 and 22) were especially potent, in that they inhibited [3H]spiperone binding to rat striatal dopamine D-2 receptors in vitro with IC50 values of about 1 nM. The new compounds' ability to block apomorphine-induced stereotypies correlated with the affinity for the [3H]spiperone binding site. Higher dose levels were necessary to induce catalepsy than to block the apomorphine-induced responses. The influence of the aromatic substituents on the potency of substituted benzamides with three types of side chains, i.e. (R)-(1-benzyl-2-pyrrolidinyl)methyl, (S)-(1-ethyl-2-pyrrolidinyl)methyl and 1-benzyl-4-piperidinyl, was compared. The 3-bromo-5,6-dimethoxysalicylamide substitution pattern was found to be the most general since it gave very potent compounds in all series. The substituted (R)-N-[(1-(4-fluoro-benzyl)-2-pyrrolidinyl)methyl]benzamides (26) and -salicylamides (22) are suitable for development into 18F radioligands without altering the parent structure.