Clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) is the major pathway for internalization of membrane proteins from the cell surface. Half a century of studies have uncovered tremendous insights into how a clathrin-coated vesicle is formed. More recently, the advent of live-cell imaging has provided a dynamic view of this process. As CME is highly conserved from yeast to humans, budding yeast provides an evolutionary template for this process and has been a valuable system for dissecting the underlying molecular mechanisms. In this review we trace the formation of a clathrin-coated vesicle from initiation to uncoating, focusing on key findings from the yeast system.