With large surface-to-volume ratios and Debye length comparable to their small sizes, one-dimensional inorganic nanostructures have extensively been investigated and widely used to fabricate high-performance nanoscale electronic and optoelectronic devices. This feature article reviews the state-of-the-art research activities that focus on the one-dimensional inorganic nanostructures and their photodetector applications. It begins with a survey of one-dimensional inorganic nanostructures and the fundamentals of photodetectors. Some remarkable photoresponse characteristics are then presented, which are organized into sections covering several kinds of important nanostructures, such as ZnO, V2O5, ZnS, In2Se3, InSe, CdS, CdSe, ZnSe, Sb2Se3, ZrS2, Ag2S, and ZnxCd1-xSe. Each section describes the corresponding photodetective properties in detail. Finally, the article concludes with some perspectives and outlook on the future developments in the field.