Iain Smith was born in Glasgow and graduated from the London Film School in 1971. He worked in London for several years before returning to his native Scotland to make "My Childhood", for the British Film Institute, the first of the award winning trilogy by the late Bill Douglas.
He formed his own production company in partnership with Jon Schorstein and produced television commercials, documentaries, children's feature films and low budget dramas, and in 1978 production managed Bertrand Tavernier's "Deathwatch" starring Romy Schneider and Harvey Keitel. A year later he joined David Puttnam and Hugh Hudson to make "Chariots of Fire" starring Ian Charleson and Ben Cross.
He went on to line produce a variety of films for David Puttnam including Bill Forsyth's "Local Hero" starring Burt Lancaster and Peter Riegert, Roland Joffe's "The Killing Fields" starring Sam Waterston and Haing Ngor, and Roland Joffe's "The Mission" starring Robert de Niro and Jeremy Irons. He also produced Brian Gilbert's "The Frog Prince".
In 1987 he formed Applecross Productions and went on to co-produce Richard Marquand's "Hearts of Fire" starring Bob Dylan and Rupert Everett followed by Michael Austen's "Killing Dad" starring Richard E. Grant, Denholm Elliott and Julie Walters. In 1991 he co-produced Roland Joffe's "City of Joy" starring Patrick Swayze and Pauline Collins, and in 1992, executive produced Ridley Scott's "1492 - Conquest of Paradise" starring Gerard Depardieu and Sigourney Weaver.
In 1994 he co-produced Stephen Frears' "Mary Reilly" starring Julia Roberts and John Malkovich, for Tristar Pictures, followed by Luc Besson's "The Fifth Element" in 1996, which starred Bruce Willis and Gary Oldman, and was produced by his company Zaltman Films Ltd for Gaumont.
He then produced Jean-Jacques Annaud's "Seven Years in Tibet" starring Brad Pitt and David Thewlis, for Columbia Pictures, followed by Jon Amiel's "Entrapment" with Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones, for Twentieth Century Fox.
After this he executive produced Tony Scott's "Spy Game" for Universal Pictures which starred Robert Redford and Brad Pitt, followed by Anthony Minghella's "Cold Mountain" for Miramax starring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman and Renee Zelwegger. He went on to produce Oliver Stone's "Alexander" for Intermedia starring Colin Farrell, Anthony Hopkins and Angelina Jolie followed by producing Darren Aronofsky's "The Fountain" for New Regency/Warner Bros. starring Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz and Ellen Burstyn, and Alfonso Cuaron's "Children of Men" for Strike Entertainment/Universal Pictures, and Timur Bekmambetrov's "Wanted" for Universal Pictures. His most recent production "The A Team" with director Joe Carnahan stars Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper and Jessica Biel was made for Twentieth Century Fox
Iain Smith has served on the boards of the UK Film Council, Scottish Screen, the Joint board of Creative Scotland, the Scottish Film Council, the Scottish Film Production Fund, the Scottish Film Training Trust and as a Governor of the National Film and Television School. He is a patron of the London Film School, Chair of the Film Skills Council, and is a director of the Children's Film and Television Foundation. He is Chair of the UK Film Industry Training Board, and is Chair of the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
In 2005 he was awarded a BAFTA for Outstanding Achievement in Film and was made an OBE by the Queen in the 2008 New Year's Honours List for services to film.