LONDON, England (CNN) -- After a lifetime of playing characters past-their-prime, Clint Eastwood appears to still be enjoying his own.
Clint Eastwood stars as inspector Harry Callahan in "Dirty Harry" (1971).
Just last week the 78-year-old actor, best-known for his portrayal of "tough guys" like "Dirty Harry," was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the organizers of the Cannes Film Festival.
The American film-maker accepted the Palme d'Or (only the second they've ever given for lifetime achievement), while he was in town promoting his new film "Gran Torino." What is your favorite Clint Eastwood movie? Tell us below in the SoundOff box.
Eastwood both directs and co-stars in "Gran Torino," as a prejudiced Korean war veteran who comes to the rescue of troubled Asian teens who live next door.
For Eastwood the honor caps a 40 year career acting, directing, producing and composing. During this time, he has won five Academy Awards, five Golden Globes and received many more nominations.
The Hollywood veteran earned perhaps most acclaim for two films: "Unforgiven" (1992) and "Million Dollar Baby" (2004). For each of these films he was awarded both Best Director and Best Picture Oscars, as well as being nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
Eastwood got his break in 1959, landing the role of Rowdy Yates in the television series "Rawhide." A successful seven-year run helped turn Eastwood into a household name and landed him several other roles in so-called Spaghetti Western films, including the hit "A Fist Full of Dollars" (1964), directed by Sergio Leone.
Leone then re-hired Eastwood for two more successful films: "For a Few More Dollars" (1965) and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (1966). The trilogy earned Eastwood greater fame and a reputation for playing tough-guy, gun-slinging cowboys.
Eastwood found another friend in director Don Siegel who gave him perhaps his most iconic role, starring in "Dirty Harry" (1971) as no-nonsense, "loose-cannon" cop Harry Callahan.
The film was such a hit that it four spin off sequels were made: "Magnum Force" (1973), "The Enforcer" (1976), "Sudden Impact" (1983) (the highest grossing film of the series), and "The Dead Pool" (1988).
In the 1990s Eastwood returned to westerns -- this time as director as well as star -- earning critical acclaim and a monumental nine Oscar nominations for "Unforgiven" (1992). Throughout the decade he also had considerable success helming blockbuster projects, like "In the Line of Fire" (1993), "Bridges of Madison County" (1995) and "True Crime" (1999).
In 2000 Eastwood co-starred in the box-office hit "Space Cowboys." In 2004, he put employed his entire array of movie skills directing, producing, scoring and co-starring alongside Hillary Swank in boxing drama "Million Dollar Baby."
Until his most recent return to the screen in "Gran Torino," Eastwood had been concentrating on directing, releasing two films about World War II in 2006, "Flags of our Fathers" and "Letters from Iwo Jima" and directing Angelina Jolie to BAFTA, Golden Globe and Oscar nominations this year in "Changeling."
Swedish director Ingmar Bergman is the only other film-maker to have received the Palme d'Or for lifetime achievement from the Cannes Film Festival.