Recent findings have sparked renewed appreciation for the remarkably dynamic nature of mitochondria. These organelles constantly fuse and divide, and are actively transported to specific subcellular locations. These dynamic processes are essential for mammalian development, and defects lead to neurodegenerative disease. But what are the molecular mechanisms that control mitochondrial dynamics, and why are they important for mitochondrial function? We review these issues and explore how defects in mitochondrial dynamics might cause neuronal disease.