He worked on various European productions as an odd-job man and stuntman, and in he debuted as a director with Schlok, a parody of B horror films which he financed himself and which made 6 million dollars in box office receipts. Universal Studios noticed him and entrusted him with the college-humor comedy National Lampoon's Animal House The extraordinary success of the film, which he doubled with his next film, The Blues Brothersmade Landis one of Hollywood's most famous young directors and the author of a new type of catastrophic and demented humor.
In he produced and directed An American Werewolf in London, a contamination of horror and comedy, and in he directed the sophisticated comedy Trading Places, plus a homonymous tribute to the 's science fiction TV series Twilight Zone. His film Amazon Women on the Moon was an attempt to repeat the project of The Kentucky Fried Movie, and then success returned with Coming to Americaa comic fairy tale starring Eddie Murphy.
He directed several episodes of the series, that lasted until The sequel youtube video trading places The Blues Brothers, Blues Brothersis datedafter which he made the independent production Susan's Planhis last fiction film before the documentary Slasher