British director of the 1980s films Sid & Nancy and Repo Man. He later turned to directing independent films.
He moved from the United Kingdom to the United States in 1977 to attend film school at the University of California-Los Angeles.
His 1987 film Walker was made during the 1988 Writers' Guild of America strike, resulting in him being blacklisted from studio films for several years.
He married writer Tod Davies.
He was originally set to direct Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas but was replaced because of creative differences with writer Hunter S. Thompson.