Raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Relocated with his family to Reading, England
Made West End stage debut in "Another Country"
Played the lead role in the BBC trilogy "Play for Today"
Joined the Royal Shakespeare Company at age 23; was the youngest "Henry V" in the company's history
Made American TV debut in the "Great Performances" presentation of Virginia Woolf's "To the Lighthouse" (PBS)
Wrote and directed first play, "Tell Me Honestly"
Played Oswald Alving in the the TV version of Henrik Ibsen's "Ghosts" (aired in the U.S. on BBC America in 1999)
Formed the Renaissance Theatre Company with David Parfitt
Directed the Renaissance production of "Twelfth Night"
Film acting debut in "A Month in the Country"
Co-starred with future wife Emma Thompson in the BBC production of "Fortunes of War" (aired in the U.S. on PBS' "Masterpiece Theater" in 1988)
Portrayed Gordan Evans (as an adult) in the three-part "American Playhouse" (PBS) presentation of Eugene O'Neill's epic "Strange Interlude"
Film directing debut, William Shakespeare's "Henry V"; also adapted and played the title role; earned Best Actor and Best Director Oscar nominations
Co-starred with Emma Thompson in the Renaissance revival of "Look Back in Anger"; both the theatre and television productions were directed by Judi Dench
Played dual roles in "Dead Again" as a chirpy private eye and a tortured composer; also directed and co-starred with wife Thompson
Produced first feature, "Peter's Friends"; also directed and co-starred with an ensemble cast that included wife Thompson
Received an Oscar nomination for Best Live Action Short Film for "Swan Song"
Adapted and directed the film version of William Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing"; also co-starred with Emma Thompson
Reprised role of Jimmy Porter in the telecast of John Osborne's "Look Back in Anger" (Bravo); Thompson co-starred
Co-produced and directed, "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein"; also co-starred as Victor Frankenstein opposite Robert De Niro's monster; first film with actress Helena Bonham Carter
Disbanded the Renaissance Theatre Company
Made off-Broadway debut as director and playwright of "Public Enemy" at the Irish Arts Centre
Played the villain Iago to Laurence Fishburne's "Othello"
Played himself in Al Pacino's documentary drama "Looking for Richard"
Adapted and directed a theatrical film version of William Shakespeare's "Hamlet"; also played the title role; earned an Oscar nomination for Adapted Screenplay
Played a Southern lawyer in Robert Altman's "The Gingerbread Man"; John Grisham's first original screenplay
Played the lead in Woody Allen's "Celebrity"
Co-starred with Helena Bonham Carter in the critically-acclaimed "Theory of Flight"
Cast as the villainous Dr. Loveless in the feature version of "Wild Wild West"
Provided the voice of Miguel for the animated "The Road to El Dorado"; also credited as song performer on "It's Tough to be a God"
Directed a musical film version of "Love's Labour's Lost"; also wrote screen adaptation and starred as Berowne
Narrated the Oscar-nominated animated short, "The Periwig-Maker"
Received rave reviews for turn as a curmudgeonly playwright in "How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog"
Portrayed SS General Richard Heydrich in the HBO drama, "Conspiracy"
Had small but pivotal role as the Chief Protector of Aborigines in the Australia film, "Rabbit Proof Fence"
Played the title role in the A&E biographical drama, "Shackleton"
Returned to the British stage to play the title role of "Richard III" at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield
Portrayed Gilderoy Lockhart in "Harry Potter in the Chamber of Secrets"
Returned to the London stage playing the title role in David Mamet's "Edmond" at the National Theater
Earned Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG nominations as Franklin D. Roosevelt in the HBO original movie, "Warm Springs"
Directed Michael Caine and Jude Law in an adaptation of Harold Pinter's Tony Award-winning play "Sleuth"
Co-starred with Tom Cruise in Bryan Singer's historical thriller, "Valkyrie"
Cast as a Swedish detective in three feature-length adaptations of Henning Mankell's best-selling "Wallander" crime novels for the BBC; also executive produced; earned Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor in a Television Movie
Played a government minister in Richard Curtis' "Pirate Radio"
Directed Chris Hemsworth in the title role of "Thor," based on the Marvel superhero
Played Sir Laurence Olivier in "My Week with Marilyn"
Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II; title changed to Sir Kenneth Branagh
Played supporting role of Viktor Cherevin in "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit"
Directed and starred in live-action "Cinderella" remake for Disney