Born into a family in Kerala, Adoor Gopalakrishnan started doing amateur plays at a young age. Later, he wrote and helmed few plays. His interest in this field was imbibed in him by his family. He had studied Economics, Political Science and Public Administration at Gandhigram Rural University in 1961. Then he studied screenwriting and filmmaking at the Pune Film Institute. His debut film was Swayamvaram, which became a milestone in the history of the Malayalam cinema. The film won four National Awards including Best Script, Best Film, Best Actress and Best Director. His third film Elippathayam fetched him the British Film Institute Award for Most Original and Imaginative Film in 1982. The International Film Critics Prize (FIPRESCI) was offered to him six times with great honour. For his work in Indian Cinema, he was honoured with India’s 4th highest civilian award Padma Shri. He also has a collection of beautifully written essays, which have also won him awards and accolades.

He has also been given the French title called ‘The Commander of The Order of Arts and Letters’ which is a matter of great pride. In 2004, he also received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, which was awarded by the Government of India. In the years 1975–1977, he was a member of the advisory board for National Film Archives, Pune. The Helsinki Film Festival was the first film festival to feature his films. A lot of respected titles had Adoor as their main person. A committee called Sivaramakarath, to frame National Policy also had him in it. He was a national film award committee member in 1974. The Venice, Singapore, Hawaii and Delhi Film Festivals had him on the jury. The Kerala Film Festival honoured him well by appointing him as the chairman. The National Film Development Corporation in the years 1980–1983 also appointed him as the head, giving him a chance to showcase his caliber more. He happens to be the director of Pune Film and Television Institute. Adoor has been an inspiration to thousands of aspiring artists who seek to enter this field.