Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire won best film as it took seven of the 11 BAFTAs it was nominated for at the Orange BAFTA Film awards.
The film also won six other awards: director for Danny Boyle, adapted screenplay, music, cinematography, editing and sound.
Boyle said it felt 'amazing' to win, adding that he wished to keep his links with India and was in talks about shooting a thriller in the country.
Writer Simon Beaufoy said he believed the film had captured the imagination of the world. 'It has come out at a time when we need a film about hope,' he said.
Kate Winslet was awarded the BAFTA for leading actress for The Reader adding to a growing list of honours, including an amazing double win at the Golden Globes. 'I am just making the most of every moment,' she said.
The supporting actress BAFTA went to Penelope Cruz for her role in Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
Director/writer Steve McQueen received The Carl Foreman Award for Special Achievement by a British Director, Writer or Producer for their First Feature Film for Hunger.
McQueen said he remained unsure about whether he would shoot another film. 'It was very tough but we perservered,' he said.
The BAFTA for outstanding British film went to the documentary Man On Wire.
I've Loved You So Long took away the film not in the English language BAFTA and the award for animated film went to Wall-E.
The Orange Rising Star Award was presented to Noel Clarke, director and star of Adulthood. This award recognises an international actor or actress who has demonstrated exceptional talent and has begun to be recognised as a film star in the making.
Clarke said the success was:'testament that a council estate kid can do alright.'
Wallace & Gromit: A Matter Of Loaf And Death won the Short Animation award and the Short Film award was presented to September.
Two awards were announced earlier this week: the Academy Fellowship was awarded to Terry Gilliam and the award for Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema was presented to Pinewood and Shepperton Studios.
Commenting on the BAFTAs, John Woodward, Chief Executive Officer of the UK Film Council said:
'It's been a stellar night for British film. Congratulations to all the British talent creating world-wide successes such as Slumdog Millionaire and the extraordinary Man on Wire - a film which we at the UK Film Council are proud to have supported, as well as September winner of the best short.
'From the new talent of Steve McQueen and Noel Clarke to the enduring excellence of Pinewood Shepperton studios, the BAFTAs have shown the strength and depth of the British film industry in an increasingly tough global market.'
The ceremony was held at London's Royal Opera House and hosted by Jonathan Ross.