McCall studied graphic design at Ravensbourne College of Art and Design, Bromley, Kent, England in the late 1960s and experimented with film during that time.
McCall was a key figure in the avant-garde London Film-makers Co-operative in the 1970s and his earliest films are documents of outdoor performances that were notable for their minimal use of the elements, most notably fire.
After moving to New York in 1973, McCall continued his fire performances and developed his 'solid light' film series, conceiving the Line Describing a Cone, in 1973. These works are simple projections that emphasise the sculptural qualities of a beam of light.
At the end of the 1970s, McCall withdrew from making art. Over 20 years later, he acquired a new dynamic and re-opened his 'solid light' series, this time using digital projectors rather than 16mm film.
In October 2009, McCall's work was featured in a solo show opening at the Moderna Museet. This exhibition showcased Doubling Back (2003) as well as a light installation entitled You and I, Horizontal (2005). Also included in the show were a number of drawings illustrating varied motions of light waves, which the artist refers to as "scores" of his films.
Later in 2009, as part of the Arts Council England's Artists Taking the Lead project, McCall was awarded £500,000 from the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad to create a work consisting of a column of steam in Birkenhead which was planned to be visible up to 100 km away. In April 2013 it was announced that the work would never be completed despite already costing £535,000. 
McCall is the subject of the book Anthony McCall: The Solid Light Films and Related Works, edited by Christopher Eamon with contributions by Branden W. Joseph and Jonathan Walley.
- Anthony McCall on Artabase
- Garcia, Carnelia. “Moderna Museet Now/Anthony McCall."Modern Painters, October 2009.
- 'Vertical cloud' for Birkenhead
- Youngs, Ian. "Anthony McCall's Olympic artwork Column scrapped". BBC News Online. BBC. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
- Anthony McCall: The Solid Light Films and Related Works. Northwestern University Press. 2005. ISBN 0-8101-2318-5.