Roger Donaldson's film career began in New Zealand (to where he had emigrated in 1965, at the age of 19, from Australia) with the disturbing and masterful New Zealand political drama Sleeping Dogs in 1977.
Sleeping Dogs, which Donaldson produced and directed, was the first feature film made in New Zealand for 15 years and was the first ever to be shown in American theatres.
It was also a landmark film in that it was Sam Neill's first feature film. Sleeping Dogs was followed by one of New Zealand's most successful films Smash Palace in 1981 (starring the inimitable Bruno Lawrence), for which Donaldson co-wrote the screenplay and directed.
Donaldson was instrumental in setting up the New Zealand Film Commission in 1978. Films that followed (which he directed) include The Bounty (starring Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins, 1984); No Way Out (starring Kevin Costner in 1987); Cocktail (starring Tom Cruise, 1988); Cadillac Man (starring Robin Williams, 1990); White Sands (starring Willem Dafoe, 1992); The Getaway (1994); Species (1995); Dante's Peak (1997) and Thirteen Days (2000), The Recruit (2003) The World's Fastest Indian (2005) The Bank Job (2008)
Seeking Justice (2011) The November Man (2014)