Retinoblastoma (Rb) and family members have been implicated as key regulators of cell proliferation and differentiation. In particular, accumulated data have suggested that the Rb gene product pRb is an important controller of erythroid differentiation. However, current published data are conflicting as to whether the role of pRb in erythroid cells is cell intrinsic or non-cell intrinsic. Here, we have made use of an in vitro erythroid differentiation culture system to determine the cell-intrinsic requirement for pRb in erythroid differentiation. We demonstrate that the loss of pRb function in primary differentiating erythroid cells results in impaired cell cycle exit and terminal differentiation. Furthermore, we have used coculture experiments to establish that this requirement is cell intrinsic. Together, these data unequivocally demonstrate that pRb is required in a cell-intrinsic manner for erythroid differentiation and provide clarification as to its role in erythropoiesis.