The basal ganglia occupy the core of the forebrain and consist of evolutionarily conserved motor nuclei that form recurrent circuits critical for motivation and motor planning. The striatum is the main input nucleus of the basal ganglia and a key neural substrate for procedural learning and memory. The vast majority of striatal neurons are spiny GABAergic projection neurons, which exhibit slow but temporally precise spiking in vivo. Contributing to this precision are several different types of interneurons that constitute only a small fraction of total neuron number but play a critical role in regulating striatal output. This review examines the cellular physiology and modulation of striatal neurons that give rise to their unique properties and function.