The Sheffield-born actor met Hamish MacInnes while searching for filming locations in Scotland for Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
A former mountain rescue head, Mr MacInnes, 88, has scaled peaks worldwide and invented life-saving equipment, including a mountain rescue stretcher used globally.
The Scottish mountaineer helped set up a rope bridge in Glencoe for the Monty Python team, which became the famed Bridge of Death in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
The long-term friends have been brought together again for a documentary Final Ascent, which sees Mr MacInnes piece his life back together from his own books and films after being sectioned in 2014 with delirium related to dementia.
Speaking at the film’s UK premiere at the Glasgow Film Festival, Sir Michael, who was knighted in the New Year’s Honours list, said: “I’ve had a good working life with Hamish, he’s inspirational really.”
Referring to Mr MacInnes’ role in the 1975 Monty Python film, he added: “Hamish found the place, built the bridge and ended up throwing the bodies of people into the Gorge of Eternal Peril - he was the head of mountain rescue and he was throwing bodies into a gorge.”