Although essential tremor (ET) and Parkinson's disease (PD) are considered distinct disorders, there is overlap in some clinical features. In some PD patients, a long-standing postural tremor in the hands may precede the onset of parkinsonian features by several years or decades. Furthermore, large families with both ET and PD phenotypes have been described and autopsy studies have demonstrated Lewy body pathology in brains of ET patients. Functional neuroimaging suggests that some ET patients have dopaminergic deficit. We examine here the evidence for and against an association between ET and PD, and critically review data supporting the notion that a subset of ET patients is predisposed to developing PD.