Treatment of lung cancer remains a challenge, and lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer-related mortality. Immunotherapy has previously failed in lung cancer but has recently emerged as a very effective new therapy, and there is now growing worldwide enthusiasm in cancer immunotherapy. We summarize why immune checkpoint blockade therapies have generated efficacious and durable responses in clinical trials and why this has reignited interest in this field. Cancer vaccines have also been explored in the past with marginal success. Identification of optimal candidate neoantigens may improve cancer vaccine efficacy and may pave the way to personalized immunotherapy, alone or in combination with other immunotherapy such as immune checkpoint blockade. Understanding the steps in immune recognition and eradication of cancer cells is vital to understanding why previous immunotherapies failed and how current therapies can be used optimally. We hold an optimistic view for the future prospect in lung cancer immunotherapy.