He was planning a film of The Lord of the Rings in the early seventies, but the plans never went further because of movie studio politics. Some of the work done was resurrected for the film Excalibur in 1981.
He was born in Shepperton, Surry, England and educated at the Salesian School in Chertsey, Surrey. He had a number of odd jobs before becoming involved in television and film to which his first was in the BBC's documentary unit which he became the head of in 1962.
Directing a number of domestic films such as Catch Us If You Can, he became drawn to Hollywood hoping to direct on larger scale. The first of these being Point Blank and the most famous being Excalibar.
He currently lives in Annamoe, County Wicklow, Ireland. He has seven children.