Shortly after her drama studies, Miles had her film debut in 1962 as a precocious schoolgirl in Terms of Trial, opposite Laurence Olivier. The following years she became a popular actress of New Wave with her roles in Joseph Losey's The Servant and in Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow Up. After having been out of sight for several years acting in a variety of theater plays, she made in 1970 an outstanding performance in the lead role of Ryan's Daughter, one of David Lean's masterpieces, which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.
Miles has been acting since then in movies and also in TV films. From time to time she retired during a few years, but was always available for roles on stage, where she is acclaimed for her performances.
In 1967, Sarah Miles married the British playwright Robert Bolt, who wrote the screenplay for the film Lady Caroline Lamb, in which she starred. Although they divorced in 1975, they re-married in 1988, seven years before he died in 1995.