The opiatelike neuropeptide beta-endorphin produces a spectrum of effects that contrasts with that induced by the neuroleptic haloperidol. Rats injected intraventricularly or directly into the periaqueductal gray with beta-endorphin (0.5 to 50 micrograms) exhibited rigid immobility accompanied by the loss of righting reflex; the period of rigidity was preceded or followed (depending upon dose) by a state of hyperactivity. In contrast, no dose of haloperidol tested (0.5 to 12 milligrams per kilogram) produced rigidity, loss of righting reflex, or behavioral excitation. Furthermore, whereas animals injected with haloperidol remained stationary on a vertical grid, rats injected with beta-endorphin typically slid off the grid. Moreover, combined beta-endorphin and haloperidol treatment produced flaccidity in most animals. These results do not support the contention that this opiatelike peptide may be a naturally occurring neuroleptic.