Cyanide (CN) is a serious concern in industrial and goldmine wastewater. Strict regulatory standards have been established by various agencies due to the detrimental effects that CN has on human health. Therefore, before discharge to water bodies or land, it is essential to create a sustainable model for the safe removal of CN. Carbon-based materials are well known for their adsorption and oxidation features, which can be conducive to CN removal. This paper reviews the relevant literature on the application of modified and unmodified carbon-based materials to CN removal in water; these materials include activated carbon (AC), graphene, graphene oxide (GO), and carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Moreover, CN removal mechanisms and photocatalytic removal of CN are comprehensively discussed, with a particular emphasis on modifying carbonbased materials. It has been observed that adding various elements to carbon-based materials improves their surface area, functional groups, CN adsorption capacity, and pore volume. Impacts of operational parameters, isotherm models, kinetics, and types of carbon-based materials are also outlined. This study provides insight into the real-scale applicability of carbon-based materials for CN removal from waters. Moreover, this review indicates that essential work on CN removal using carbon-based materials is still needed. Future research should focus on developing modified carbonbased materials to encourage multidisciplinary research. The most crucial gap in the literature is that the studies have been performed on a lab scale. Therefore, further pilot and real-scale applications should be conducted. Overall, the cost assessment, environmental effects, and human health risks of carbon-based materials should be studied in future research to achieve a realistic perspective on applicability on an industrial scale.