Jan Kačer studied pottery school in Bechyně, where he fell in love with the theatre. He was a Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague student of directing from 1954 to 1960, when he successfully graduated. He moved to Ostrava in 1959 where, as a director and actor, he participated on artistic development of Petr Bezruč Theatre. He contributed significantly to films of the Czechoslovak New Wave, which attacked socialistic reality directly or metaphorically, specifically Passing Through a Thick Forest (1963) and Nobody Will Laugh (1965). He achieved a best actor award for The Return of a Prodigal Son (1966).