The transient and steady-state responses of movement detectors are studied at various pattern contrasts (i) by intracellularly recording from an identified movement-sensitive interneuron in the fly's brain and (ii) by comparing these results with computer simulations of an array of movement detectors of the correlation type. At the onset of stimulus motion, the membrane potential oscillates with a frequency corresponding to the temporal frequency of the stimulus pattern before it settles at its steady-state level. Both the transient and the steady-state response amplitudes show a characteristic contrast dependence. As is shown by computer modeling, the transient behavior that we found in the experiments reflects an intrinsic property of the general scheme of movement detectors of the correlation type. To account for the contrast dependence, however, this general scheme has to be elaborated by (i) a subtraction stage, which eliminates the background light intensity from the detector input signal, and (ii) saturation characteristics in both branches of each movement-detector subunit.