DVD Talk describes it as "a low-key stunner" and writes, "The Big City's simple premise is belied by its exquisite storytelling and thoughtful craftsmanship." The Guardian calls it "glorious" and says, "The Big City is sublime, a movie to fall in love with." The Indian Express describes it as an "insightful and intimate portrait of a lower middle-class family in 1950s Calcutta" and calls it a masterpiece. Roger Ebert proclaims it "one of the most rewarding screen experiences of our time." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 89%.