Long acquisition times have long been a major drawback of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and have limited its use for all those organ systems with various types of movement, such as respiration, pulsation, and peristalsis. Recent advances in scanner hard- and software, most notably improvements in gradient and radio frequency coil design, in amplifier technology as well as in pulse sequence development, have created new fields of application for MRI. In this review article we give an overview of the development of pulse sequences from the spin echo technique through gradient echo techniques to the fastest imaging technique thus far developed, echo planar imaging (EPI). A variety of clinical applications for the different pulse sequences is included, along with a discussion on the advantages and drawbacks of each technique. The review ends with a discussion of possible future advances in the field of high-speed MR imaging.