Photo of Mike Leigh Mike Leigh

Director, producer, screenwriter and playwright Mike Leigh was born Feb. 20, 1943, in Salford, England, and graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. In the 1960s, Leigh did extensive work for British television, where he formed an appreciation for the English working class and his trademark improvisational style.

Leigh's feature debut was the now-obscure Bleak Moments (1971), followed by more shorts and TV movies. The theatrical releases of High Hopes (1988) and Life Is Sweet (1990) gained widespread critical admiration on both sides of the Atlantic. Naked (1993) earned Leigh a Best Director Award from the Cannes Film Festival, while Secrets & Lies (1996) landed Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay. He earned another writing nod for the Gilbert and Sullivan biopic Topsy Turvy (1999).

Other Leigh films include Career Girls (1997) and Vera Drake (2004).

Mike Leigh in Happy-Go-Lucky


2008 R

When someone steals her beloved bike, eternally cheerful schoolteacher "Poppy" Cross takes up driving and is paired with a sour instructor -- who's both attracted to and repelled by Poppy in this upbeat slice-of-life tale.

  • Mike Leigh in Topsy-Turvy Topsy-Turvy
  • Mike Leigh in Life Is Sweet Life Is Sweet
  • Mike Leigh in Another Year Another Year
  • Mike Leigh in Naked Naked
  • Mike Leigh in All or Nothing All or Nothing
  • Mike Leigh in Vera Drake Vera Drake
  • Mike Leigh in Hard Labour Hard Labour
  • Mike Leigh in Nuts in May Nuts in May
  • Mike Leigh in Abigail's Party Abigail's Party
  • Mike Leigh in Kiss of Death Kiss of Death
  • Mike Leigh in Home Sweet Home Home Sweet Home
  • Mike Leigh in Four Days in July Four Days in July
  • Mike Leigh in High Hopes High Hopes
  • Mike Leigh in Welcome to Hollywood Welcome to Hollywood