Resveratrol (3,4',5-trihydroxystilbene) is found in various plants, including grapes, berries and peanuts. It is also present in wines, especially red wines. During the last years, it has been the focus of numerous in vitro and in vivo studies investigating its biological attributes, which include mainly antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, anti-platelet aggregation effect, anti-atherogenic property, oestrogen-like growth-promoting effect, growth-inhibiting activity, immunomodulation and chemoprevention. In fact, recently, it has been demonstrated that the stilbene blocks the multistep process of carcinogenesis at various stages: tumour initiation, promotion and progression. More recent results provide interesting insights into the effect of this compound on the life span of yeasts and flies, implicating the potential of resveratrol as an anti-aging agent in treating age-related human diseases. Nevertheless, depending on the concentration of the phytoalexin and the cell type, it has also been shown that resveratrol can exhibit pro-oxidant properties, leading to oxidative breakage of cellular DNA in the presence of transition metal ions such as copper. Recently, it has been proposed that such a pro-oxidant action could be a common mechanism for anticancer and chemopreventive properties of plant polyphenols. The present paper is intended to provide the reader up-to-date information on the antioxidant and pro-oxidant properties of resveratrol and its clinical implications.