The 84-old Penn never won an Academy Award, although the film festival said a statement that he "deeply influenced the American cinema d'auteur" and "reanimated" U.S. movies in the 1960s and 1970s.
Penn's body of work also includes the western "Missouri Breaks" and "Alice's Restaurant."
The BBC said the February film festival will screen some of those classic films.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]
Mindy Kaling mistaken for Malala Yousafzai