Tehran born Majidi grew up in a middle class Iranian family. By the time he was 14, he started acting in amateur theatre groups which led him to study at the Institute of Dramatic Art in Teheran. After the Islamic revolution in 1978, his interest in cinema brought him to act in various films, such as Boycott (1985).
By 1992, Majidi made his debut as a director and screenwriter with the feature Baduk (1992), which was presented at the Quinzaine of Cannes and won several awards nationwide. Since then, he has written and directed several films that have won worldwide recognitions, most notably Children of Heaven (1997) that won the "Best Picture" at Montreal International Film Festival and nominated for best foreign film at the Oscar Academy Awards. The film was soon followed by another success, The Color of Paradise (1999) which also won the Best Picture award at Montreal International Film Festival, and Baran (2001) which won seven major awards at the Teheran International film Festival and the Best Picture award at the 25th Montreal International Film Festival.