We have examined the accuracy of reduction and the functional outcomes in elderly patients with surgically treated acetabular fractures, based on assessment of plain radiographs and CT scans. There were 45 patients with such a fracture with a mean age of 67 years (59 to 82) at the time of surgery. All patients completed SF-36 questionnaires to determine the functional outcome at a mean follow-up of 72.4 months (24 to 188). All had radiographs and a CT scan within one week of surgery. The reduction was categorised as 'anatomical', 'imperfect', or 'poor'. Radiographs classified 26 patients (58%) as anatomical,13 (29%) as imperfect and six (13%) as poor. The maximum displacement on CT showed none as anatomical, 23 (51%) as imperfect and 22 (49%) as poor, but this was not always at the weight-bearing dome. SF-36 scores showed functional outcomes comparable with those of the general elderly population, with no correlation with the radiological reduction. Perfect anatomical reduction is not necessary to attain a good functional outcome in acetabular fractures in the elderly.