Michael Biehn got his start in movies with a bit part in the film version of Grease in 1978. He appears in two scenes, in the more memorable of which John Travolta's character, Danny, hits Biehn's uncredited character in the stomach while playing basketball. In 1981, he played a stalker in The Fan. After a few more films, Biehn played Kyle Reese, a sergeant sent back in time by John Connor to save his mother, Sarah Connor, in the 1984 film The Terminator. He starred in two other films directed by James Cameron: Aliens (as Corporal Hicks) and The Abyss (as Lieutenant Hiram Coffey), and had a small role in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (his briefly reprised role as Reese which was removed from the theatrical release but restored in the special editions and the director's cut).
Biehn reprised the role of Hicks by voicing the character in Aliens: Colonial Marines. Biehn played the role of Johnny Ringo in Tombstone with the showdown scene with Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday.
In the 2000s, Biehn took acting roles ranging from big budget films such as The Art of War and Clockstoppers, to video games like Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, and independent movies, such as Havoc. He also starred in three TV series including the CBS drama The Magnificent Seven (1998–2000), the Tribune Entertainment syndicated TV series Adventure Inc. (2002–2003), and the NBC TV series Hawaii (2004).
Biehn, who said he was encouraged by Robert Rodriguez while on the set of Planet Terror to make his own film, has produced, written, directed and starred in The Victim, which was released in 2011. The year before he was the first director on The Blood Bond. He also had a significant role in The Divide.