Thompson made his American television debut in the syndicated miniseries "A Woman Called Golda" (1982), starring Ingrid Bergman, and followed quickly with a turn opposite Lee Remick in the ABC movie "The Letter" (1982), a remake of the Bette Davis-Herbert Marshall version of the Somerset Maugham story. He played a supporting role in Paul Verhoeven's first English-language movie, "Flesh + Blood" (1985), and his expanded international film career featured work in New Zealand ("Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" 1982), Great Britain ("Black Rainbow" 1989) and the U.S. ("The Wind" 1992), not to mention continued efforts in his homeland ("Ground Zero" 1988). Since his award-wining performance as Russell Crowe's understanding father in the Australian film "The Sum of US" (1995), Thompson has acted primarily in the USA, receiving tremendous TV exposure, first for his role opposite Sally Field in the NBC miniseries "A Woman of Independent Means" (1995), and then in the CBS miniseries sequel "The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years" (1996). On the big screen, he lent his solid presence as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in John Woo's "Broken Arrow" and as the Tennessee governor who refuses to pardon death row inmate Sharon Stone in "Last Chance" (both 1996). Thompson also appeared as Alicia Silverstone's father in the muddled "Excess Baggage" and had one of his best roles as Savannah defense attorney Sonny Seiler in Clint Eastwood's film version of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" (both 1997).