Using immunohistochemical methods we have studied the distribution of substance P fibers, terminals and perikarya throughout the basal ganglia of baboons and at selected levels of the human brain. Immunoreactivity in the substantia nigra pars reticulata, internal segment of the globus pallidus and ventral pallidum was dense and of a characteristic, "woolly-fiber" morphology. The caudate nucleus and putamen contained sharply circumscribed patches of dense immunoreactivity superimposed on a moderately stained background. The external division of the globus pallidus displayed very little immunoreactivity. Two morphological types of immunoreactive cell bodies were present in the caudate nucleus, putamen and nucleus accumbens, and were clustered within the dense patches. The distribution of immunoreactive perikarya within the striatum differed from that reported for rats, as immunoreactive neurons were distributed evenly throughout the rostrocaudal extent rather than being concentrated in the rostral portions.