Cytoplasmic dynein is a microtubule motor that powers minus-end-directed motility in a variety of biological settings. The budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has been a useful system for the study of dynein, due to its molecular genetics and cell biology capabilities, coupled with the conservation of dynein-pathway proteins. In this review we discuss how budding yeast use dynein to manipulate the position of the mitotic spindle and the nucleus during cell division, using cytoplasmic microtubules, and we describe our current understanding of the genes required for dynein function. Cell Motil. Cytoskeleton 2009. (c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.