Thom Andersen has lived in Los Angeles for most of his life. In the 1960s, he made short films, including Melting (1965), Olivia’s Place (1966), and "--- -------" (1967, with Malcolm Brodwick). In 1974 he completed Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer, an hour-long documentation of Muybridge’s photographic work. In 1995, with Noël Burch, he completed Red Hollywood, a videotape about the filmwork created by the victims of the Hollywood Blacklist. Their work on the history of the Blacklist also produced a book, "Les Communistes de Hollywood: Autre chose que des martyrs", published in 1994.
In 2003 he completed Los Angeles Plays Itself, a videotape about the representation of Los Angeles in movies. In 2010, he completed Get Out of the Car, a short 16mm portrait of Los Angeles. In 2012, he directed Reconversão, an HD video about the work of Portuguese architect Eduard Souto Moura. He has taught at the California Institute of the Arts since 1987.