Simultaneous measurements of instantaneous pressure distributions on rectangular cylinders of length to height ratio(B/D) of 1.0, 2.5 and 3.0 in smooth nonturbulent and homogeneous turbulent flows were made and the data were analyzed by phase averaging and spectral analysis in addition to more conventional methods. The turbulence in the inflow stream is nearly homogeneous and isotropic with the intensity and the scale of 5% and 1.2–1.5 times the cylinder height, respectively. The main effects of the turbulence in the inflow free stream of this scale and intensity are to laterally move the separated shear flow off the upstream corners and cause intermittent reattachment on the side surfaces of cylinders of B/D of 2.5 and larger. For the cylinder with smaller B/D, the flow does not reattach with or without turbulence in the free stream, and the instantaneous surface pressure distributions fluctuate quite periodically at a frequency corresponding to the Strouhal frequency of the vortex shedding. The effects of the free-stream turbulence appear in the increased fluctuation on the front surface as buffeting due to the impinging turbulence. When the separated shear layers reattach due to the influence of the free-stream turbulence, the reattachment point moves intermittently, the pressure distributions downstream of the reattachment fluctuate periodically, and a mild peak is formed in the spectra at a frequency much larger than the Strouhal frequency.