Sir Michael Caine was given the Freedom of the City of London as an exhibition opened to celebrate his career.
The Alfie and the Italian Job star, who turns 80 next week, was recognised by the City of London Corporation for his achievement in film.
The ceremony coincided with a display of family photographs and portraits of the London-born actor at the Museum of London.
Sir Michael said he was "proud" of the exhibition.
The actor, born Maurice Micklewhite Jnr in Rotherhithe, south-east London, was presented with his award during a special service conducted by the Clerk of the Chamberlain's Court at the Museum's City Gallery.
Beverley Cook, Museum Of London curator, said: "Sir Michael Caine is one of London's most loved and recognisable characters.
"He was the first actor to bring an authentic London accent to the big screen, and, although Hollywood success made him an international star, he remains inextricably linked to his London roots."
Speaking ahead of the exhibition, Sir Michael said: "I think the museum is great for London, and I am so proud to be included."
The Freedom of the City of London, which is believed to have first been conferred in 1237, is granted to those who have made outstanding contributions to London life.
The exhibition of Sir Michael's life and work runs until 14 July and entry is free.
Ahead of its launch, the Museum of London gave film fans the chance to vote for their favourite Michael Caine films, with free screenings of the top four movies later this year.
Online voting closes at 17:00 GMT 14 March - the date of Sir Michael's 80th birthday.
The winning films and a schedule of screenings will be revealed on 20 March.