Human movement disorders represent a significant and unresolved societal burden. Among these, the most prevalent is Parkinson's disease (PD), a disorder afflicting millions worldwide. Despite major advances, stemming primarily from human genetics, there remains a significant gap in our understanding of what factors underlie disease susceptibility, onset, and progression. Innovative strategies to discern specific intracellular targets for subsequent drug development are needed to more rapidly translate basic findings to the clinic. Here we briefly review the recent contributions of research using the nematode roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system for identifying and characterizing gene products associated with PD. As a microscopic but multicellular and genetically tractable animal with a well-defined nervous system and an experimentally tenable lifespan, C. elegans affords significant advantages to researchers attempting to determine causative and therapeutic factors that influence neuronal dysfunction and age-associated neurodegeneration. The rapidity with which traditional genetic, large-scale genomic, and pharmacological screening can be applied to C. elegans epitomizes the utility of this animal for disease research. Moreover, with mature bioinformatic and functional genomic data readily available, the nematode is well positioned to play an increasingly important role in PD-associated discoveries.