One of the early events in the establishment of regional diversity in brain is the subdivision of the forebrain into the cerebral cortex and underlying basal ganglia. This subdivision is of special interest, owing to the striking difference in cellular patterning in these two regions. Whereas the dorsal aspect of the telencephalon gives rise to the laminar, cortical regions of brain, the basal aspect gives rise to nuclear, subcortical regions. To examine early events in the regionalization of the forebrain, we visualized cell movement within the ventricular zones of the dorsal and basal regions of the E15 murine telencephalon. Over an 8-24-hour observation period, labelled cells moved extensively in the plane of the cortical ventricular zone. Cell dispersion was restricted, however, at the border between the cortical ventricular zone and the lateral ganglionic eminence, the basal telencephalic ventricular zone. We suggest that this restriction of cell movements establishes a regional pattern of neurogenesis in the developing brain.