The Iranian hostage drama Argo was chosen as best movie drama and Ben Affleck was named best director.
The film is based on a true story – the rescue of some diplomats after the US embassy in Tehran was overrun following the Islamic revolution in 1979.
It is also in the running for an Oscar next month, though Affleck was not nominated for a directing award by the Academy.
There were no surprises in the best actress category. That award went to Jessica Chastain for her protrayal of a young CIA agent who tracked down Osama Bin Laden in the thriller Zero Dark Thirty.
Daniel Day Lewis won best actor in a drama for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln.
It was the story of the night – the sole award for Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ which had been the favourite beforehand. The cast and crew will undoubtedly hope it will be a different story at the Oscars, where it is a front runner with 12 nominations.
Best foreign language film was Amour by the Austrian film-maker Michael Haneke. The movie also won the Palme d’Or at the last Cannes film festival.
Other winners at the Golden Globes included Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained with two awards and Les Miserables with three.