The Lord of the Rings actor's outstanding contribution to film and television was recognised at the 57th London Film Festival Awards.
Depp made a surprise appearance at the ceremony to honour Lee with the highest accolade the organisation gives out.
BFI chief executive Amanda Nevill said: "The BFI Fellowship is awarded to those at the pinnacle of their profession.
"It is a truly illustrious moment to be honouring Sir Christopher Lee for his enormous and unique contribution to film during a festival that is committed to excellence."
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