He was born in Athens in 1940 and studied at the Stavrakou Film School. He worked initially as an assistant director and made his first short in 1965. Since then his films have won international acclaim and numerous awards establishing his reputation as one of the foremost Greek film directors of his generation. Pantelis Vouglaris has also directed several documentaries for Greek television and the hour-long documentary on the poet Yannis Ritsos for German Television. He has also directed for the stage.
In 1995 Pantelis Voulgaris was honoured by the Museum of Modern Art in New York with a mid-career retrospective.