Myosin II crossbridges interact with F-actin producing powerstrokes of around 100 A (refs 1, 2), during which the products of ATP hydrolysis are released. This has been postulated to involve an articulation of the myosin head (S1) on actin, or substantial conformational changes in S1 itself. Small movements of the regulatory light chain have been detected (see, for example, refs 9, 10), but most data suggest that the bulk of S1 does not move on actin during crossbridge cycling. Here we present three-dimensional maps of S1-decorated F-actin in the presence and absence of MgADP. The myosin motor domain is similar in both states but there are major orientational differences in the light-chain-binding domain. This domain acts as a rigid level arm pivoting about the end of the motor domain and swinging approximately 23 degrees, resulting in a approximately 35-A step. Small, nucleotide-mediated conformational changes in the motor domain may thus be converted by the light-chain domain into large movement steps.