The announcement was made Monday by Howard Stringer, chair of the AFI Board of Trustees.
The ceremony is to take place June 9, 2011. It is to be broadcast on TV Land PRIME that month.
"Morgan Freeman is an American treasure," Stringer said in a statement. "Across decades, whether playing a prisoner, a president or God, he embodies a calm authority that demands respect for the character and for the art form. His gifts to the cultural record are also underscored by his unmistakable voice that echoes through the hearts and minds of movie lovers around the world. AFI is proud to present him with its 39th Life Achievement Award."
Freeman's film credits include "Invictus," "Million Dollar Baby," "Driving Miss Daisy," "The Shawshank Redemption," "The Dark Knight," "The Bucket List," "Glory," "Clean and Sober," "Lean on Me," "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" and "Unforgiven."
Freeman joins a list of AFI Life Achievement Award recipients that includes Mike Nichols, Sean Connery, George Lucas, Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, Clint Eastwood, Steve Spielberg, Elizabeth Taylor and Sidney Poitier.