A review of the relationships between matrix models and noncommutative gauge theory is presented. A lattice version of noncommutative Yang-Mills theory is constructed and used to examine some generic properties of noncommutative quantum field theory, such as uv/ir mixing and the appearance of gauge-invariant open Wilson line operators. Morita equivalence in this class of models is derived and used to establish the generic relation between noncommutative gauge theory and twisted reduced models. Finite-dimensional representations of the quotient conditions for toroidal compactification of matrix models are thereby exhibited. The coupling of noncommutative gauge fields to fundamental matter fields is considered and a large mass expansion is used to study the properties of gauge-invariant observables. Morita equivalence with fundamental matter is also presented and used to prove the equivalence between the planar loop renormalizations in commutative and noncommutative quantum chromodynamics.