Rifkin graduated from The Chicago Academy for the Arts in 1984.
Director Adam Rifkin is the creative force behind the motion pictures The Dark Backward and The Chase, for which he wrote the screenplays. Rifkin wrote the surrealist comedy The Dark Backward when he was nineteen years old and filmed the work six years later.
Rifkin has written several family-friendly movies. He is a director of such films, as Never on Tuesday, 1988; Tale of Two Sisters, 1989; The Nutty Nut, 1992; and The Nutt House, 1995.
He directed films under pseudonym of Rif Coogan, including Psycho Cop II: Psycho Cop Returns, 1992.
He was the director responsible for New Line Cinema's Detroit Rock City.
As an actor, Rifkin began his career in 1988 with his directorial debut Never on Tuesday. Rifkin has appeared in small roles and cameos in his other films, Night at the Golden Eagle, Without Charlie, Detroit Rock City, The Dark Backward, Denial and Psycho Cop 2. Rifkin also appeared as Croaker/Miss Spain in the 1989 film, Going Overboard, starring Adam Sandler and Burt Young.
He also wrote, acted and directed the 2007 film Homo Erectus.