The men's pole vault was one of four men's jumping events on the Athletics at the 1964 Summer Olympics program in Tokyo. Qualification was held on 15 October 1964, with the final on 17 October. 32 athletes from 20 nations entered, with 1 not starting in the qualification round.
At this point in time, the United States had never lost and Olympic pole vault competition. In the final, the last remaining American was Fred Hansen, who at the time was also the world record holder. Hansen cleared 5 meters on his first attempt, but so did three German athletes, making it a four way tie. Hansen passed the next height, watching as only Wolfgang Reinhardt was able to clear. Re-entering the competition at 5.10, Hansen failed his first two attempts, but so did Reinhardt. Hansen then sailed over his final attempt, while Reinhart could not. Hansen continued the American streak, which would survive through one more Olympics until the 1972 pole vault controversy, when defending champion Bob Seagren had his pole confiscated at the games and had to compete on an unfamiliar, borrowed pole.
Vaulters had to clear 4.60 metres to qualify for the final. The bar start at 4.20 metres, increasing gradually to 4.60 metres. Each jumper had three attempts at each height or could skip any lower height (but could not return to a lower height if he determined that he could not succeed).