- Was raised in a strict Dutch Calvinist home and didn't see his first movie (The Absent-Minded Professor) until his late teens.
- Worked as a film journalist in the late 1960s and early '70s but was fired by the Los Angeles Free Press in 1969 after he panned Easy Rider.
- Was mentored in journalism by film critic Pauline Kael.
- Published Transcendental Style in Film: Ozu, Bresson, Dreyer (an expansion of his UCLA master's thesis) in 1972. Also wrote Schrader on Schrader (1990).
- Wrote the screenplays for four films directed by Martin Scorsese: Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ and Bringing Out the Dead.
- Collaborated with his brother, Leonard, on the screenplays for The Yakuza (his screenwriting debut, 1974), Blue Collar (his directorial debut, 1978) and Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985).
- Was hired to direct Exorcist: The Beginning, a 2004 sequel to The Exorcist, but was fired during production. Most of his footage wasn't used, but after The Beginning flopped, the studio reinstated the unused footage and rereleased the film as Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist.
- Received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute (where he studied in the late '60s) in 2005.
- 1977, Golden Globe — Best Screenplay - Motion Picture: Nominee
- 1993, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Screenplay: Nominee
- 1999, Writers Guild Awards — The Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement: Winner
- 1999, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Screenplay: Nominee
- 1985, Cannes Film Festival — Best Artistic Contribution: Winner
- 1977, Writers Guild Awards — Original Drama: Nominee
- 1999, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Director: Nominee
- 1998, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Director: Nominee
- 1998, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Screenplay: Nominee
- Leonard Schrader — Brother
- Mary Beth Hurt — Wife
- Beverly Walker — Ex-significant Other
- Sam Schrader — Son
- Molly Schrader — Daughter
- Jeannine Claudia Oppewall — Ex-wife
- Joan Fisher Schrader — Mother
- Michele Rappaport — Ex-significant Other
- Charles A Schrader — Father
- Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States (BA, 1968); University of California, Los Angeles, California, United States (MA in Film Studies, 1970); attended Columbia University, New York, New York, United States