Guy Ritchie was born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK on September 10, 1968. After watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) as a child, Guy realized that what he wanted to do was make films. He never attended film school, saying that the work of film school graduates was boring and unwatchable. At 15 years old, he dropped out of school and in 1995, got a job as a runner, ultimately starting his film career. He quickly progressed and was directing music promos for bands and commercials by 1995.
The profits that he made from directing these promos was invested into writing and making the film The Hard Case (1995), a 20-minute short film that is also the prequel to his debut feature Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998). Sting's wife, Trudie Styler, saw The Hard Case (1995) and invested in the feature film. Once completed, 10 British distributors turned the film down before it eventually was released in the UK in 1998 and in the US in 1999; the film put Ritchie on the map as one of the hottest rising filmmakers of the time, and launched the careers of actors Jason Statham, Jason Flemyng, and Vinnie Jones, among others.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) was followed by Snatch (2000), this time with a bigger budget and a few more familiar faces such as Brad Pitt, Dennis Farina, Benicio Del Toro alongside returning actors Jason Statham, Vinnie Jones and Jason Flemyng. At the end of 2000, Ritchie married the pop superstar Madonna in Scotland, and proceeded to work with his famous wife on a variety of film and video projects, including the short Star (2001), made for BMW and co-starring Clive Owen, and the controversial video "What It Feels Like for a Girl," which was called out for its violence. In 2002, the couple embarked on a remake of the 1974 Lina Wertmüller film Swept Away (2002); the new film was a critical and commercial flop, winning five Razzie Awards. Ritchie followed up with the Vegas heist film Revolver (2005), which was panned, but won favor with the crime thriller RocknRolla (2008), which featured a game, energetic cast and brought American attention to rising stars Gerard Butler and Tom Hardy.
The next year saw the release of Sherlock Holmes (2009), starring Robert Downey Jr. in the title role and Jude Law as his cohort Dr. Watson. The film received mostly good reviews but, more important for Ritchie's career, was a solid blockbuster hit that grossed more than $520 million dollars worldwide and spawned a sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011). Ritchie is tentatively scheduled to direct an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island.
Ritchie has two sons with Madonna: Rocco, born in 2000, and an adopted son, David, born in 2005. In late 2008, the couple confirmed reports that they were splitting up, and agreed to a divorce settlement that was finalized in December of that year. In September 2011, Ritchie's girlfriend, model Jacqui Ainsley, gave birth to a son, Rafael, and in July 2012 the couple announced they were expecting their second child.