After several documentaries and feature films like Black Beauty (1971), Bloody Kids (1978), The Game Keeper (1980), Babylon (1980) and Angel (1982) he became notable for more ambitious works for which he was critically acclaimed.
His second film as director CrissCross with Goldie Hawn received critical acclaim but was a box-office flop. In 1996 he moved back behind the camera to shoot the award winning films The Boxer (directed by Jim Sheridan) and Michael Collins. For the latter he received his third Academy Award nomination in 1997.
Menges also made documentaries. In the early 1970s he went to Burma with British film maker Adrian Cowell to shoot The Opium Warlords, a film about the drug trade. After the release of the documentary in 1974 the Burmese government was said to have put a price on their heads. He is mentioned in the book Conversations with Cinematographers by David A. Ellis, published by Scarecrow Press.