An ideal structure of zeolite membrane should be a slice of a perfect zeolite crystal attached on a porous metal or ceramic support. To maximize the throughput, the zeolite layer must be very thin, limited only by the cell dimension of zeolite. Separation of a mixture may then be achieved based on the molecular sieving ability of zeolite, which allows only molecules smaller than a critical size to pass through. A variety of methods have been reported for the preparation of zeolite membranes, but so far a perfect epitaxial zeolite layer is still out of reach and only a polycrystalline zeolite membrane can be obtained. The first part of this review focuses on the permeation of gases and vapors through a polycrystalline zeolite membrane as a separation means. The effect of microstructure on permeance will also be discussed, as well as the preparation methods leading to different microstructures. In addition to the usage as a shape-selective membrane, thin films of zeolite and zeolite-like molecular sieves c an also serve as hosts for the encapsulation and orientation of guest atoms and molecules and their clusters. In the second part of this review, the production of layers of aligned microporous molecular sieve crystals on supports and the fabrication of supported thin zeolite-like nanoporous silica films as well as their potential applications on the preparation of advanced materials are discussed.