Michael Hoffman was Student Body President at Boise University, then went on to attend Oxford University in 1979 as a Rhodes scholar. In 1982, he wrote, directed and acted in his first feature length film, Privileged, starring Hugh Grant in his film debut. Hoffman helped form the Oxford Film company, which oversaw a summer institute for filmmakers as well as instituting Britain's first national screenwriting competition. Hoffman then went on to direct Restless Natives (1985), about two Scottish men who become local heroes after robbing coach loads of tourists.
Hoffman returned to the States to film his next comedy, Some Girls (1988), starring Patrick Dempsey and Jennifer Connelly. The movie won "Most Popular Film" at the Vancouver International Film Festival. His next film was a gritty drama he wrote himself -- Promised Land (1988), starring Meg Ryan and Kiefer Sutherland.
He returned to comedy for his next film, Soapdish (1989), a tongue-in-cheek, behind-the-scenes look at soap operas that starred Sally Field and Kevin Kline. His first major Hollywood-financed project, Soapdish was a major breakthrough for Hoffman.
Hoffman returned to England to direct his next film, Restoration (1995), which paired him up again with Hugh Grant. Next up was the romantic comedy One Fine Day (1996), starring Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney.