Leading man Leonardo DiCaprio won best actor in a drama, while Alejandro G Inarritu won for its direction.
Ridley Scott hit The Martian was named best comedy or musical film, winning a further Globe for star Matt Damon.
Room star Brie Larson was named best actress in a drama, while Jennifer Lawrence won best comedy actress.
British winners included Kate Winslet, picking up the best supporting actress award for her role in Steve Jobs, as the Apple guru’s assistant; singer Sam Smith, for his Bond track Writing’s On The Wall, and the BBC’s adaptation of Wolf Hall was named best mini-series.
Mark Rylance, who – like Elba – was nominated in both the TV and film categories, was tipped to win the best supporting actor Globe for his role in Bridge of Spies, but lost out to Sylvester Stallone for his comeback performance as Rocky Balboa in Creed.
“I was here in 1977 and I was hit by tumbleweed – and the view is so beautiful now,” said Stallone, who received a standing ovation.
Steve Jobs picked up the award for Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay – making the biopic the only other multiple film winner of the night.
As widely predicted, Pixar’s Inside Out won best animated film and veteran Italian composer Ennio Morricone won his third Golden Globe for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.
Amazon was the big overall winner in the television categories, with two wins apiece for the streaming services’ original dramas, Mr Robot and Mozart in the Jungle.
Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal was named best actor in a comedy or musical TV series for his role as brash conductor Rodrigo in Mozart in the Jungle, and Christian Slater won the best supporting actor in a series for Mr Robot – shutting out British star Damian Lewis (Wolf Hall) and Alan Cumming (The Good Wife).
Having missed out on an Emmy in September, Empire star Taraji P Henson was named best actress in a TV drama series and Mad Men’s Jon Hamm picked up his second best actor Golden Globe for Mad Men – eight years after winning his first at the start of the series.
But, in an otherwise disparate night, the evening belonged to Alejandro G Inarritu’s survivalist tale The Revenant – and the combined power of Inarritu’s direction and DiCaprio’s visceral performance.
The victory comes just a year after Inarritu lost the best director prize to Richard Linklater, when Inarritu’s Birdman faced off with Linklater’s Boyhood – though Inarritu went on to win the Oscar.
It must also put DiCaprio centre stage for the Oscar that has eluded him throughout his career.