Not many Hollywood directors got their break working for the federal government, but Richard Compton was making propaganda films for the United States Information Agency years before releasing "Angels Die Hard" in 1970. The film flipped the script on the standard biker gang movies of its day, presenting them as heroes rather than thugs as they come to the rescue during a local mining disaster. Not only was this Compton's United States motion picture debut, but it was also the first picture released by New World Pictures, the production company founded by legendary filmmaker Roger Corman. Soon after, Compton wrote and directed his most noteworthy film, the gritty low-budget revenge flick "Macon County Line." The box office success of the project allowed him to put out a string of similar movies, including a pseudo-sequel, "Return to Macon County," though none matched the success or cult following of the original. Compton worked exclusively in television from the '80s until the end of his career, directing episodes of iconic series through several generations, such as the stylized cop drama "Miami Vice" and the science-fiction mystery "The X-Files."