Gold nanorods have been receiving extensive attention owing to their extremely attractive applications in biomedical technologies, plasmon-enhanced spectroscopies, and optical and optoelectronic devices. The growth methods and plasmonic properties of Au nanorods have therefore been intensively studied. In this review, we present a comprehensive overview of the flourishing field of Au nanorods in the past five years. We will focus mainly on the approaches for the growth, shape and size tuning, functionalization, and assembly of Au nanorods, as well as the methods for the preparation of their hybrid structures. The plasmonic properties and the associated applications of Au nanorods will also be discussed in detail.