Green was born in Frome, Somerset, England. He began working in film in 1929 and became a noted film cinematographer and a founding member of the British Society of Cinematographers. Green became a full-time director of photography in the mid-1940s, working on such films as David Lean's Oliver Twist in 1948.
In about 1955, Green switched to directing, and he moved to Hollywood around 1962. In addition to directing A Patch of Blue (1965), Green also wrote and co-produced the film. After his death, his widow Josephine told AP that it was his proudest accomplishment. Among his other films as director are The Angry Silence (1960), The Mark (1961) (nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival), Jacqueline Susann's Once Is Not Enough (1975), and The Devil's Advocate (1977).
Green died in his Beverly Hills home from kidney and heart failure, aged 91. In addition to his wife of 57 years, he was survived by his son, Michael; his daughter, Marilyn Feldman; and two grandchildren.