Decades of preclinical evaluation and clinical trials into melanoma vaccines have yielded spectacular progress in our understanding of melanoma antigens and the immune mechanisms of tumor rejection. Key insights and the results of their clinical evaluation are reviewed in this article. Unfortunately, durable clinical benefit following vaccination remains uncommon. Two recent clinical advances that will impact on melanoma vaccine development are trials with inhibitors of CTLA-4 and oncogenic BRAF. Long-term therapeutic control of melanoma will require integration of specific active immunotherapy with these emerging successful therapies from the disparate fields of immune regulation and signal transduction.