Born in Denmark in 1948. Trained as a film director at the Danish Film School in the 70'es.
His filmography includes: In My Life (1979); Zappa (1982); Twist & Shout (1985); Pelle erobreren / Pelle the Conqueror (1987) (the Palme d’Or in Cannes in 1988 and the Academy Award and the Golden Globe as Best Foreign Language Film in 1989); Den goda viljan /The Best Intentions (1991) (the Palme d’Or in Cannes in 1992); The House of the Spirits (1993) starring among others Meryl Streep, Glenn Close and Jeremy Irons; Jerusalem (1995), Smilla’s Sense of Snow (1996) starring Julia Ormond, Gabriel Byrne, Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave; Les Misérables(1997), based upon French writer Victor Hugo’s classic, starring Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush, Uma Thurman and Claire Danes; A Song for Martin (2001); the theatre play “Details" at The Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, written by the Swedish playwright Lars Norén (2002); TV-series Details for the Danish channel DR TV-DRAMA (2003); Return to Sender starring Aidan Quinn, Kelly Preston and Connie Nielsen (2004); Goodbye Bafana, starring Joseph Fiennes, Dennis Haysbert and Diane Kruger (2006); Marie Krøyer, starring Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Søren Sætter-Lasssen and Sverrir Gudnason (2012); Night Train to Lisbon (2013) starring Jeremy Irons and Jack Huston; Stille hjerte / Silent Heart (2014) (official competition in San Sebastian Film Festival) starring Ghita Nørby, Morten Grunwald, Vigga Bro, Paprika Steen, Jens Albinus, Pilou Asbæk and Danica Curcic. Currently his films The Chinese Widow and 55 Steps are in post production.
Apart from his numerous film awards Bille August has been honoured for his work as a film director with both the Danish and the Swedish Royal Order of Chivalry and the French order Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et Lettres.