There is a broad community of health sciences professionals interested in the anatomy of the cranial nerves (CNs): specialists in neurology, neurosurgery, radiology, otolaryngology, ophthalmology, maxillofacial surgery, radiation oncology, and emergency medicine, as well as other related fields. Advances in neuroimaging using high-resolution images from computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) have made highly-detailed visualization of brain structures possible, allowing normal findings to be routinely assessed and nervous system pathology to be detected. In this article we present an integrated perspective of the normal anatomy of the CNs established by radiologists and neurosurgeons in order to provide a practical imaging review, which combines 128-slice dual-source multiplanar images from CT cisternography and 3T MR curved reconstructed images. The information about the CNs includes their origin, course (with emphasis on the cisternal segments and location of the orifices at the skull base transmitting them), function, and a brief listing of the most common pathologies affecting them. The scope of the article is clinical anatomy; readers will find specialized texts presenting detailed information about particular topics. Our aim in this article is to provide a helpful reference for understanding the complex anatomy of the cranial nerves. Clin. Anat. 27:31–45, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.