English film director. He is known for his intense dramas that explore human relationships against the background of major political and social issues, such as the Bosnian War film Welcome to Sarajevo (1997) and the refugee road film In this World (2002; BAFTA, three awards at the Berlin Film Festival including a Golden Bear). His docudramas include 24 Hour Party People (2002), an exposé of the Manchester-based music scene 1970s–90s, The Road to Guantanamo (2006; Silver Berlin Bear), about three British prisoners at the infamous US naval base in Cuba, and A Mighty Heart (2007; François Chalais Award at Cannes), which profiled the life and death of US reporter Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan.
His first major feature film, Butterfly Kiss (1995), reinvented the road film with two lesbians who go on a killing spree across Britain. Go Now (1995), starring Robert Carlyle, portrays the emotional ordeals of a man who has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Jude (1996) was an intensely dark adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel Jude the Obscure. Other work includes the romantic drama Wonderland (1999) and the improved comedy television series The Trip (2010, 2014).
Winterbottom was born in Blackburn, Lancashire. After earning a bachelor's degree from Oxford University he studied film in Bristol.