Hepatitis B virus (HBV), a typical member of the Hepadnaviridae family, is responsible for infections that cause B-type hepatitis which leads to severe public health problems around the world. The small enveloped DNA-containing virus replicates via reverse transcription, and this unique process is accomplished by the virally encoded reverse transcriptase (RT). This multi-functional protein plays a vital role in the viral life cycle. Here, we provide a summary of current knowledge regarding the structural characteristics and molecular mechanisms of HBV RT. Improved understanding of these processes is of both theoretical and practical significance for fundamental studies of HBV and drug discovery.