Noyce was born in Griffith, New South Wales, attended high school at Barker College, Sydney, and began making short films at the age of 18, starting with Better to Reign in Hell, using his friends as the cast. After graduating from Sydney University, he joined the Australian Film, Television and Radio School in 1973, and released his first professional film in 1975. Many of his films feature espionage, as Noyce grew up listening to his father's stories of serving with the Australian Commando unit Z Force during World War II.
After his debut feature, the medium-length Backroads (1977), Noyce achieved huge commercial and critical success with Newsfront (1978), which won Australian Film Institute (AFI) awards for Best Film, Director, Actor, and Screenplay.
Noyce worked on two miniseries for Australian television with fellow Australian filmmaker George Miller: The Dismissal (1983) and The Cowra Breakout (1984).
Miller also produced the film that brought Noyce to the attention of Hollywood studios – Dead Calm (1988) which launched the career of Nicole Kidman.
Moving with his young family to the United States in 1991, Noyce directed five films over the following eight years, of which Clear and Present Danger, starring Harrison Ford, was the most successful, critically and commercially, grossing $216 million.
After 1999's Bone Collector starring Angelina Jolie and Denzel Washington, Noyce decided to return to his native Australia for Stolen Generations saga Rabbit-Proof Fence, which won the AFI Award for Best Film in 2002. He has described Rabbit-Proof Fence as "easily" his proudest moment as a director: "Showing that film to various Aboriginal communities around the country and seeing their response, because it gave validity to the experiences of the stolen generations." Although independently financed, the film was a huge hit with Australian audiences and sold worldwide.
Noyce was also lauded for The Quiet American, the 2002 adaptation of Graham Greene's novel, which gave Michael Caine an Academy Award Best Actor nomination and earned best director awards from London Film Critics' Circle and National Board of Review in the US. After the Apartheid-set Catch a Fire (2006) in South Africa, Noyce decided to make another big budget studio film with 2010's Salt starring Angelina Jolie, which proved to be his biggest commercial hit to date, making nearly $300 million worldwide.
In Spring 2011, Noyce directed and executive produced the pilot for the ABC series Revenge, which ended a four-season run on May 10, 2015.
In 2013, Noyce directed and executive produced the NBC pilot Crisis, which went to series. Later that year, he returned to South Africa to film The Giver, starring Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, and Brenton Thwaites, which opened in the US on August 15, 2014 from The Weinstein Company.
In 2016, Noyce directed the first night of the Emmy nominated miniseries "Roots" followed in 2017 by the feature Above Suspicion, starring Emilia Clarke and Jack Huston.
Noyce was an avid supporter of the Labor government of Gough Whitlam.
He was married to film producer Jan Chapman 1971–1977. From 1979 to 2004 he was married to producer Jan Sharp, with whom he has two children. He is now married to designer Vuyo Dyasi, with whom he has two children: a son, Luvuyo and a daughter, Ayanda.Better to Reign in Hell (1969) (short)
Good Afternoon (1971) (short)
Caravan Park (1973) (short)
That's Showbiz (1973) (short)
Castor and Pollux (1974) (short documentary)
God Only Knows Why, But it Works (1975) film docudrama about Dr Archie Kalokerinos and aboriginal healthcare
Let the Balloon Go (1976) – 2nd assistant director
The Dismissal (1983) (miniseries)
The Cowra Breakout (1984) (miniseries)
The Hitchhiker (TV series) (Episodes in 1985):
Episode "The Martyr"
Episode "Man's Best Friend"
Episode "Man of Her Dreams"
Episode "The Curse"
Echoes of Paradise (1987) (aka Shadows of the Peacock)
Dead Calm (1988)
Blind Fury (1989)
Nightmare Cafe (1992, TV series) (Pilot)
Patriot Games (1992)
Clear and Present Danger (1994)
The Saint (1997)
The Repair Shop (1998) (unreleased pilot)
The Bone Collector (1999)
Patriot Games: Up Close (2002) (TV) (uncredited)
Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)
The Quiet American (2002)
Tru Calling (2003) TV series (Episode 1.01: "Pilot")
Welcome to São Paulo (2004) (Segment: "Marca Zero")
Brotherhood (2006) (TV pilot)
Catch a Fire (2006)
Lights Out (2011, TV series) (executive producer)
Revenge (2011–15, TV series) (consulting producer)
Americana (2012, TV series) (executive producer)
Luck (2012, TV series) (Episode 4)
Mary and Martha (2013)
Crisis (2014, TV series) ("Pilot", executive producer)
The Giver (2014)
Above Suspicion (2017)
Simmonds and Newcombe (late 1970s) – about the manhunt for Simmonds and Newcombe
King Hit (late 1970s) – about the dismissal of the Whitlam government