The director was presented with the award following a screening of his 1976 film Robin And Marian, starring Audrey Hepburn and Sean Connery, at the BFI Southbank.
Director Richard Lester has been honoured with a BFI Fellowship Award.
Although born in the US, Lester has been a UK resident since 1956. He is best known for his films with the Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night (1964) and Help! (1965).
Lester won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in 1965 for The Knack…and How to Get It, which starred Rita Tushingham and Michael Crawford.
He worked with many big budget Hollywood productions in the 1970s and 80s including a highly successful series of films based on The Three Musketeers starring Oliver Reed and Richard Chamberlain.
Lester has a long association with the BFI. He presented the first John Player lecture in 1968, stepping in when Jean-Luc Godard refused to appear.
The BFI Fellowship is awarded to those who have made an outstanding contribution to British film and television. Previous recipients include Ralph Fiennes, David Cronenberg, Dame Judi Dench, Isabelle Huppert and Martin Scorsese.
‘Richard Lester has created a unique body of work which has enriched the lives of millions with his brilliantly surreal humour and innovative style. Although born in America he has lived in Britain for 60 years and created some of the most enduring and influential creations of British cinema," said BFI chairman Greg Dyke.