Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the imaging tool of choice in the evaluation of prostate cancer. The main applications of MR imaging in the management of prostate cancer are: (1) to guide targeted biopsy when prostate cancer is clinically suspected and previous ultrasound-guided biopsy results are negative; (2) to localize and stage prostate cancer and provide a roadmap for treatment planning; and (3) to detect residual or locally recurrent cancer after treatment. Other MR techniques such as proton MR spectroscopic imaging (MRSI), diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), and contrast-enhanced MRI (CE-MRI) complement conventional MR imaging by providing metabolic and functional information that can improve the accuracy of prostate cancer detection and characterization. In everyday clinical practice, and to account for patient comfort, MR imaging studies are limited to 1 h. To obtain consistently high-quality images, a well-designed protocol is necessary. Routine MR imaging can be supplemented by other MR techniques such as MRSI, DWI or CE-MRI depending on the expertise available and the clinical questions that need to be answered. This review summarizes the role of MR imaging in the management of prostate cancer and describes practical approaches to implementing anatomic, metabolic and functional MR imaging techniques in the clinic.