Cell cycle checkpoints are surveillance mechanisms that monitor the order, integrity, and fidelity of the major events of the cell cycle. These include growth to the appropriate cell size, the replication and integrity of the chromosomes, and their accurate segregation at mitosis. Many of these mechanisms are ancient in origin and highly conserved, and hence have been heavily informed by studies in simple organisms such as the yeasts. Others have evolved in higher organisms, and control alternative cell fates with significant impact on tumor suppression. Here, we consider these different checkpoint pathways and the consequences of their dysfunction on cell fate.