It is widely accepted that the orthodontist should have a thorough understanding of the craniofacial musculature and its association with the growth and development of the dentofacial complex. There is still much controversy regarding the influence of the mandibular muscles on normal growth and development, and on orthodontic treatment and stability. This review presents an outline of the mandibular muscles and the vertical facial pattern. The different methods by which the mandibular muscles have been investigated are discussed. The potential influence of these muscles on normal morphologic variation in different people is also discussed, along with the implications for contemporary orthodontic treatment and stability.