Eukaryotic peptide release factor 3 (eRF3) is a conserved, essential gene in eukaryotes implicated in translation termination. We have systematically measured the contribution of eRF3 to the rates of peptide release with both saturating and limiting levels of eukaryotic release factor 1 (eRF1). Although eRF3 modestly stimulates the absolute rate of peptide release (∼5-fold), it strongly increases the rate of peptide release when eRF1 is limiting (>20-fold). This effect was generalizable across all stop codons and in a variety of contexts. Further investigation revealed that eRF1 remains associated with ribosomal complexes after peptide release and subunit dissociation and that eRF3 promotes the dissociation of eRF1 from these post-termination complexes. These data are consistent with models where eRF3 principally affects binding interactions between eRF1 and the ribosome, either prior to or subsequent to peptide release. A role for eRF3 as an escort for eRF1 into its fully accommodated state is easily reconciled with its close sequence similarity to the translational GTPase EFTu.