He began his career as an assistant art director on several UK productions including the Hammer Studios film And Soon the Darkness (1970). He won an Academy Award for set decoration on the science fiction classic Star Wars (1977). Two years later, Christian received his second Oscar nomination for his work as the production designer on Ridley Scott's Alien (1979). Christian's use of airplane scrap and other machinery to dress the set interiors of these films and creation of weapons using old working guns adapted by adding junk, revolutionized the look of science fiction films. Christian maintained his working relationship with George Lucas over the years, having worked on Return of the Jedi (1983) and being the second unit director on Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999).
Christian began his directing career with the shorts Black Angel (1980) and The Dollar Bottom (1981). Black Angel, filmed at locations in Scotland, was mentored by George Lucas who tied the film as a programme with The Empire Strikes Back in UK, Australia, and Scandinavia. The 25-minute film is a retelling of the hero's journey in classical mythology, and it influenced several major directors.The Dollar Bottom won an Academy Award for best live action short film and a BAFTA nomination. He made his feature film debut with the horror film The Sender (1982). Chosen as the opening film at the Avoriaz Film Festival, the film has become a cult classic. Quentin Tarantino has described The Sender as his favorite horror film of 1982. Christian directed the music video "Election Day" by the band Arcadia in Paris, France in 1985. His 1994 feature film Nostradamus, about the life of the famous French prophet, has received worldwide recognition.
^ abCampbell, Duncan (May 31, 2000). "Cult classic". Guardian Unlimited (Guardian Newspapers Limited). Retrieved July 29, 2006. "[...] Battlefield Earth has opened to spectacularly bad notices, many of which have suggested that the film is the worst of the year, the decade, the millennium or whatever exotic time-frame the alien Psychlos recognise."