Image analysis problems, posed mathematically as variational principles or as partial differential equations, are amenable to numerical solution by relaxation algorithms that are local, iterative, and often parallel. Although they are well suited structurally for implementation on massively parallel, locally interconnected computational architectures, such distributed algorithms are seriously handi capped by an inherent inefficiency at propagating constraints between widely separated processing elements. Hence, they converge extremely slowly when confronted by the large representations of early vision. Application of multigrid methods can overcome this drawback, as we showed in previous work on 3-D surface reconstruction. In this paper, we develop multiresolution iterative algorithms for computing lightness, shape-from-shading, and optical flow, and we examine the efficiency of these algorithms using synthetic image inputs. The multigrid methodology that we describe is broadly applicable in early vision. Notably, it is an appealing strategy to use in conjunction with regularization analysis for the efficient solution of a wide range of ill-posed image analysis problems.