MR imaging (MRI) and MR angiography (MRA) have gained a high level of diagnostic accuracy in cardiovascular disease. MRI in cardiac disease has been established as the non-invasive standard of reference in many pathologies. However, in acute chest pain the situation is somewhat special since many of the patients presenting in the emergency department suffer from potentially life-threatening disease including acute coronary syndrome, pulmonary embolism, and acute aortic syndrome. Those patients need a fast and definitive evaluation under continuous monitoring of vital parameters. Due to those requirements MRI seems to be less suitable compared to X-ray coronary angiography and multislice computed tomography angiography (CTA). However, MRI allows for a comprehensive assessment of all clinically stable patients providing unique information on the cardiovascular system including ischemia, inflammation and function. Furthermore, MRI and MRA are considered the method of choice in patients with contraindications to CTA and for regular follow-up in known aortic disease. This review addresses specific features of MRI and MRA for different cardiovascular conditions presenting with acute chest pain.