Acute brain injury is one of the leading causes of mortality and disability worldwide. Despite this, treatments for acute brain injuries are limited, and there remains a massive unmet clinical need. Inflammation has emerged as a major contributor to non-communicable diseases, and there is now substantial and growing evidence that inflammation, driven by the cytokine interleukin-1 (IL-1), worsens acute brain injury. Interleukin-1 is regulated by large, multimolecular complexes called inflammasomes. Here, we discuss the latest research on the regulation of inflammasomes and IL-1 in the brain, preclinical efforts to establish the IL-1 system as a therapeutic target, and the promise of recent and future clinical studies on blocking the action of IL-1 for the treatment of brain injury.