Bengt von zur Mühlen was born in Dorpat (Tartu), Estonia, to an aristocratic Baltic family, and had a twin brother, Max. His father was a farmer and merchant. The family fled from their home to Berlin at the end of World War II. He attended boarding school in Wyk auf Föhr. In 1953, he emigrated to Canada and graduated from the University of Western Ontario. He then went on to study at Columbia University in New York. In 1961, he founded the production company Chronos Film in Berlin. Most of his work concerns German history in the 20th century, especially during World War II Among his most successful productions were the documentaries Battle for Berlin (1973) and The Yellow Star: The Persecution of the Jews 1933-1945 (1981), each of which was nominated for an Academy Award. He and his wife, director and writer Irmgard von der Mühlen, built an extensive private film archive. Bengt von zur Mühlen also published some nonfiction books, including histories of film. In 2014, he published a book on the Battle of Berlin and a biography of the Wehrmacht officer and resistance member Fritz Lindemann.