The New York Times has a review. PBS considers it an "essential film". FilmReference.com says, "The mature Kurosawa appeared in the 1948 Drunken Angel." Bright Lights Film Journal and Images Journal have an article by Gary Morris that says that "Kurosawa considered Drunken Angel his first "real" film". Senses of Cinema calls it his "first recognizable masterwork". Roger Ebert notes it as "the first time Kurosawa and Mifune worked together, and the first film Kurosawa claimed as all his own."
7/14/2009: The Younger Son and I watched Drunken Angel tonight. We have the Criterion edition DVD, and we also watched the extra feature on post-war censorship in Japan, "a new, 25-minute video piece that looks at the challenges Kurosawa faced in making Drunken Angel". That was interesting.
We have become Kurosawa fans over the years and liked this film. Slant Magazine notes the similarity between this film and Ikiru that was also noticed by The Younger Son:
Like Shimura's dying-man-on-a-mission in Ikiru, Dr. Sanada is determined to leave his mark by reforming a piece of the world around him, namely the festering neighborhood pond that seems to bubble with disease.
5/10/2010: Noir of the Week has a review.