The pathophysiology of the movement disorders arising from basal ganglia disorders has been uncertain, in part because of a lack of a good theory of how the basal ganglia contribute to normal voluntary movement. An hypothesis for basal ganglia function is proposed here based on recent advances in anatomy and physiology. Briefly, the model proposes that the purpose of the basal ganglia circuits is to select and inhibit specific motor synergies to carry out a desired action. The direct pathway is to select and the indirect pathway is to inhibit these synergies. The clinical and physiological features of Parkinson's disease, L-DOPA dyskinesias. Huntington's disease, dystonia and tic are reviewed. An explanation of these features is put forward based upon the model.