Correct positioning of the spindle governs placement of the cytokinesis furrow and thus plays a crucial role in the partitioning of fate determinants and the disposition of daughter cells in a tissue. Converging evidence indicates that spindle positioning is often dictated by interactions between the plus-end of astral microtubules that emanate from the spindle poles and an evolutionary conserved cortical machinery that serves to pull on them. At the heart of this machinery lies a ternary complex (LIN-5/GPR-1/2/G? in Caenorhabditis elegans and NuMA/LGN/G?i in Homo sapiens) that promotes the presence of the motor protein dynein at the cell cortex. In this review, we discuss how the above components contribute to spindle positioning and how the underlying mechanisms are precisely regulated to ensure the proper execution of this crucial process in metazoan organisms.