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). His docudramas include 24 Hour Party People (2002), an exposé of the Manchester-based music scene 1970s–90s, The Road to Guantanamo (2006), about three British prisoners at the infamous US naval base in Cuba, and A Mighty Heart (2007), which profiled the life and death of US reporter Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan.
The disturbing nature of many his films, such as Welcome to Sarajevo, which explores the lives of journalists and other civilians in war-ravaged Yugoslavia, made them more critical than commercial successes
His later films deal with emotional turmoil but are less bleak, such as the romantic drama Wonderland (1999). He won several awards, including a BAFTA, for his refugee road film In this World (2002).
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.
Winterbottom was born in Blackburn, Lancashire. After earning a bachelor's degree from Oxford University he studied film in Bristol and London. He worked as a film editor for Thames Television, where he directed the BBC drama series Family (1994). Other films include the romantic drama With or Without You (1999); another Hardy adaptation, The Claim (2000); and the science fiction romance Code 46 (2003).