Sergei Solovyov first experienced theatrical production as a child at the Theater of Youth Creativity (1957–1962) directed by Matvey Dubrovin.
Solovyov studied at the all-Soviet State Institute of Cinematography, worked in Leningrad TV and Mosfilm studio (1969–1987, film director, writer, producer). In 1975, he won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 25th Berlin International Film Festival for his film Sto dney posle detstva.
Solovyov contributed to the Russian rock movement of the perestroika era, with such films as "Assa" (1987, starring rock musicians Afrika (Sergei Bugaev), Viktor Tsoi, Sergey Ryzhenko) and "Chyornaya roza - emblema pechali, krasnaya roza - emblema lyubvi" (1989). Both Soviet films prominently feature Russian rock music in soundtracks, especially by Boris Grebenshchikov and his band Akvarium.
He directed "Dyadya Vanya" (Uncle Vanya, Maly theatre) and "Chayka" (Taganka Theatre, 1994). Solovyov was a professor of Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography and the chairman of Cinematographer's Union of Russia from 1994 to 1997. In 2000 he was a member of the jury at the 22nd Moscow International Film Festival.