Sir Ian McKellen will receive the Donostia Award at San Sebastian Film Festival on September 23.
The veteran actor - who won the Silver Shell at the festival for his role in Gods And Monsters in 1998 - will join an illustrious list of previous recipients, including Meryl Streep, Gregory Peck, Antonio Banderas and Robert Duvall.
The 69-year-old Burnley-born actor has cemented his reputation both on stage and screen, appearing in everything from Richard III and X Men, to Coronation Street.
Described as "the leading actor of his generation" as long ago as 1969, his famous roles also include Gandalf in Lord Of The Rings and a recent stint alongside Patrick Stewart in stage hit Waiting For Godot.
Despite Priest of Love (Christopher Miles, 1981), Walter (Stephen Frears, 1982), The Keep (Michael Mann, 1983), Plenty (Fred Schepisi, 1985) and Cold Comfort Farm (John Schlesinger, 1995), his film career blossomed late, fitted in between the 250 plays he has performed in a career spanning nearly 50 years.
This award will add to the string of accolades he has already notched up, including Tony, Olivier and Golden Globe nods, as well as the Honorary Golden Bear life achievement award at Berlin Festival.