Born and raised in London, England until World War II displaced his family to the countryside, John Boorman began his career at BBC Radio at 18. After serving his required two-year stint in the army, he applied and secured a job in television, working as an apprentice film editor at Independent Television News. He transitioned from editor to director at Southern Television, to documentarian at the BBC in 1961, soon becoming the head of BBC’s Bristol-based Documentary Unit the following year, where he helmed the highly regarded Citizen 63 (1963) and The Newcomers (1964).
After the success of his BBC TV documentary The Quarry: Portrait of a Man as a Paralysed Artist (1966), producer David Deutsch asked him to direct Catch Us If You Can (1965), a vehicle for the Dave Clark Five pop music group. Boorman began receiving film offers once Pauline Kael favorably reviewed it, leading to his first Hollywood film. Since his feature film debut, he has directed more than a dozen features, including Point Blank (1967), Hell in the Pacific (1968), Leo the Last (1970), Deliverance (1972), Zardoz (1974), Excalibur (1981), The Emerald Forest (1985), Hope and Glory (1987), The General (1998), The Tailor of Panama, and Queen & Country (2014).
For his directorial efforts, John Boorman has received Academy Award, Golden Globe, and DGA Award nominations for Deliverance; Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for Hope and Glory; Palme d’Or nominations for Excalibur and Beyond Rangoon; as well as Palme d’Or wins for Leo the Last and The General.
Boorman has been a member of the Guild since 1967.