T cell-APC contact initiates T cell activation and is maintained by the integrin LFA-1. Talin1, an LFA-1 regulator, localizes to the immune synapse (IS) with unknown roles in T cell activation. In this study, we show that talin1-deficient T cells have defects in contact-dependent T cell stopping and proliferation. Although talin1-deficient T cells did not form stable interactions with APCs, transient contacts were sufficient to induce signaling. In contrast to prior models, LFA-1 polarized to T cell-APC contacts in talin1-deficient T cells, but vinculin and F-actin polarization at the IS was impaired. These results indicate that T cell proliferation requires sustained, talin1-mediated T cell-APC interactions and that talin1 is necessary for F-actin polarization and the stability of the IS.