Hicks was born in Uganda and lived in Kenya, just outside Nairobi, until the age of ten. His family then moved, first to England and, when he was 14, on to Adelaide, Australia. Hicks graduated from Flinders University of South Australia (BA Honors) in 1975 and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1997. Hicks is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. He lives with his wife and collaborator/producer Kerry Heysen in Adelaide, South Australia where they maintain their own Yacca Paddock Vineyard on the Fleurieu Peninsula. They have two sons, Scott Heysen and Jethro Heysen-Hicks. Also an accomplished photographer, Hicks has had three exhibitions of his work.