We have investigated the dynamics of impulsively excited planar microcavities in the strongly coupled regime. With resonant, coherent excitation, the emitted light shows vacuum-Rabi oscillations and a lifetime corresponding to twice the cavity lifetime. As the light intensity is increased, the exciton bleaching leads to reduced normal-mode splitting. The role of interface disorder on the dynamic splitting is discussed. Coherence transfer in exciton-exciton scattering is observed. Off-resonant excitation leads to long lifetimes limited by scattering into the radiatively coupled states of the exciton-cavity system.