Metal allyl complexes in which the ligands carry bulky silyl substituents frequently show stability that cannot be achieved with unsubstituted analogues. As a result, it has been possible to characterize a large family of structurally diverse metal silyl-allyls from the s-, p-, d- and f-blocks of the Periodic Table, and to study the coordination chemistry of compounds that often have no counterparts without bulky substituents. The fact that the majority of compounds discussed in this Perspective have been published since 2000 reflects the newness of the area, and the article summarizes the main developments in the structural chemistry of metal silyl-allyls and also selected synthetic and catalytic applications. Although organometallic chemistry is often regarded as transcending traditional boundaries between 'organic' and 'inorganic' chemistry, an understanding persists that those working in the field can be labelled 'inorganic organometallic' chemists or 'organic organometallic' chemists. It is hoped that chemists from a broad range of backgrounds will be able to use this review as an entry point to an exciting new direction in metal allyl chemistry. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2010.