The purpose of this article is to review the physiology of normal brain and spinal cord motion in the subarachnoid space, principles of cine balanced steady-state free precession (bSSFP) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), clinical applications, and the pitfalls encountered with this technique. The brain and spinal cord are dynamic structures that move with each heartbeat due to transmitted arterial pulse waves. Conventional MRI sequences do not allow anatomic evaluation of the pulsatile movement of the neural structures in the subarachnoid space due to limitations in temporal resolution. Cine bSSFP MRI uses cardiac gating to evaluate dynamically the brain and spinal cord with high contrast and temporal resolution. Cine bSSFP can be used in the evaluation of idiopathic syringomyelia to assess an underlying treatable cause, including arachnoid bands, which are usually not well visualized with conventional MR sequences due to motion artifact. This MRI technique is also useful in the evaluation of intraspinal and intracranial arachnoid cysts and the degree of mass effect on the cord. Other applications include preoperative and postoperative evaluation of Chiari I malformation and the evaluation of lateral ventricular asymmetry. The major limitation of cine bSSFP is the presence of banding artifacts, which can be reduced by shimming and modifying other scan parameters.