We analyzed access to health services and the utilization of such services by elderly rural residents in Brazil in 2003, comparing the patterns to those of the urban elderly and the equivalent rural pattern in 1998, using data from the National Household Sample Survey. Access barriers were greater in rural as compared to urban areas. Health services utilization was less than in the urban elderly, even for rural elders who reported health problems. There was no difference in hospitalization rates among rural and urban elderly. Analysis of the health services that were used showed that there was limited access to services with intermediate complexity. The results suggest that access barriers increase even further with advancing age. Gender differences in utilization, generally favoring women, are more marked in the rural elderly. Financial barriers are also more evident. The health services supply should be expanded and adapted to the territorial, cultural, and social characteristics of the rural elderly.