The U.S. filmmaker has won countless awards over his 56-year career, including three Oscars, three Golden Globes and four BAFTAs. The latest trophy added to his collection is the Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian recognition. Obama bestowed the honour on him on Tuesday (24Nov15), paying tribute to the director's prominent work.

"Steven's films are marked most importantly by a faith in our common humanity," Obama said. "His stories have shaped America's story, and his values have shaped our world."

Barbra Streisand and James Taylor were also honoured.

Spielberg's latest movie Bridge of Spies sees him team up with Tom Hanks for a fourth time. They've previously struck cinema gold with Saving Private Ryan and Catch Me If You Can, as well as comedy drama The Terminal.

Bridge of Spies tells the true story of US lawyer James B. Donovan negotiating the exchange of prisoners with Soviet Russia during the Cold War.

"We're spying on each other, we're cyber spying on each other more than ever before," Spielberg told BBC. "There's all kind of drone overflights taking place today, there were U2 overflights taking place in the '50s and '60s. So there's a lot of parallels, and in a sense all that made this story more relevant for me in the current context. But it didn't convince me to direct it because there was relevance, what convinced me to direct it was it's just a b**ody good story."

When quizzed on his stance on how America currently uses surveillance, the celebrated director admits he didn't use the move as a vehicle for his own beliefs.

"There was no real message in Bridge of Spies that I was championing," he explained. "I didn't make the movie to push my own political agenda out there. My politics are subliminal through my work. I did it more through Schindler's List, (with) what I believed in and how strongly I felt came through in Schindler's List."