The fate of the anterior neural ridge was studied by following the relative movements of simultaneous spot applications of DiI and DiO from stage 15 through stage 45. These dye movements were mapped onto the neuroepithelium of the developing brain whose shape was gleaned from whole-mount in situs to neural cell adhesion molecule and dissections of the developing nervous system. The result is a model of the cell movements that drive the morphogenesis of the forebrain. The midanterior ridge moves inside and drops down along the most anterior wall of the neural tube. It then pushes forward a bit, rotates ventrally during forebrain flexing, and gives rise to the chiasmatic ridge and anterior hypothalamus. The midanterior plate drops, forming the floor of the forebrain ventricle, and, keeping its place behind the ridge, it gives rise to the posterior hypothalamus or infundibulum. The midlateral anterior ridge slides into the lateral anterior wall of the neural tube and stretches laterally into the optic stalk and retina, and then rotates into a ventral position. The lateral anterior ridge converges to the most anterior part of the dorsal midline during neural tube closure, then rotates anteriorly, and gives rise to telencephalic structures. Whole-mount bromodeoxyuridine labeling at these stages showed that cell division is widespread and relatively uniform throughout the brain during the late neurula and early tailbud stages, but that during late tailbud stages cell division becomes restricted to specific proliferative zones. We conclude that the early morphogenesis of the brain is carried out largely by choreographed cell movements and that later morphogenesis depends on spatially restricted patterns of cell division.