Venice, May 2 - William Friedkin, the Academy Award-winning director of legendary films including The French Connection, will be awarded the Golden Lion lifetime achievement prize at the Venice Film Festival. The award was proposed by the director of the festival Alberto Barbera. In his bid to grant the Golden Lion to Friedkin, which was approved on Thursday, Barbera said that Friedkin "has contributed to the deep innovation of American cinema in a significant way which has not always been recognized for its revolutionary impact". After making documentaries, Friedkin played a major role in innovating two popular genres - police and horror films - making modern blockbusters including The French Connection (1971), which won him five Academy Awards including best director and best film, and The Exorcist (1973), which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards. Friedkin also directed Sorcerer (1977), Cruising (1980), To Live and Die in L.A. (1985) and Jade (1995) "which have come to be subsequently viewed as true masterpieces," Barbera said. A recent success included Killer Joe, which was nominated for a Golden Lion at the 2011 Venice Film Festival. After learning about the award, Friedkin said Venice represented a "spiritual home" for him, saying the lifetime achievement was "unexpected", an honour he accepted with "gratitude and love". Friedkin will be given the award at the 70th edition of the festival, August 28 to September 7, during which he will be presenting the restored version of Sorcerer by Warner Bros. His long-awaited memoir The Friedkin Connection (Harper Collins) has just been published in the United States. The Italian version, published by Bompiani, will debut in Venice.