Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. 100
    By the end of the movie, we have been through an emotional and a sensual wringer, in a film of great wisdom and delight.
  2. Reviewed by: Barbara Shulgasser
    Big Night's beauty is the fact that it is about passion.
  3. 100
    It is one of the most beautifully staged American movies in a very long time.
  4. The real feast is in the mix of characters, each so finely and unschmaltzily delineated in a script so confident and controlled that even the most passing of participants comes alive.
  5. 89
    Big Night is, in a word, delicious.
  6. 88
    May not have the size and grandeur of some of the biographical and political epics being released this fall, but I defy you to find a better written, more honest -- or yes, more satisfying and delicious -- movie this year. [27 September 1996, Friday, p.C]
  7. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    A robustly imaginative sleeper
  8. 88
    In addition to their deft skill with light drama, the directors understand well-placed humor, and throw just the right amount of comedy into the mix to make Big Night fun without turning it into an outright farce.
  9. Reviewed by: Sean Means
    It's so good, so jam-packed with delights, that it leaves you gorged -- and bemoaning the fatty glop that passes for moviemaking these days.
  10. As delicately and deliciously prepared as the dishes it features, Big Night is a lyric to the love of food, family and persuasive acting.
  11. The film is loaded with brotherly affection and with warm, funny and poignant evocations of a gentler time.[20 September 1996, p.C12]
  12. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    A movie that is both as real as food on the table and as hauntingly evanescent as its taste on one's tongue.
  13. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    This unlikely collaboration between actors Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott is extremely well directed, making for a smartly made, delightfully acted period piece whose sensibility neatly straddles art films and the mainstream.
  14. It's the moviegoing equivalent of great eating.
  15. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    This little picture charms by virtue of its craft and patience.
  16. Both a delightful story and a great food movie that ranks with "Like Water for Chocolate'' or "Babette's Feast.''
  17. 70
    A feast of a film done on a low budget with a menu featuring top-grade acting, writing and direction.
  18. Reviewed by: Keith Simanton
    Like Primo's dishes, Big Night looks and tastes (yes, it does taste) like a labor of love.
  19. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    There's an almost natty precision about this picture that's so rare these days in American movies that it provides satisfaction in itself.
  20. 70
    Big Night, a scrumptious tale of great food and grand passions, belongs on the menu with such mouth-watering movie fare as "Babette's Feast" and "Like Water for Chocolate."
  21. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    One of the few American independent films right now that actually deserves its high praise.
  22. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    The script is shapeless and it all goes on far too long.
  23. Reviewed by: Tom Keogh
    The story, ultimately, is about the classic conflict between a desire to cherish and protect one's unique gifts from a brutal world and a more practical instinct to compromise beauty.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 17 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 1 out of 10
  1. Jun 5, 2012
    Piece of Advice DON'T WATCH THIS MOVIE WHILE YOUR HUNGRY!!! YOU WILL RESOLVE TO CANNIBALISM! But seriously, this was a really good film. ItPiece of Advice DON'T WATCH THIS MOVIE WHILE YOUR HUNGRY!!! YOU WILL RESOLVE TO CANNIBALISM! But seriously, this was a really good film. It was about two brothers who own a lovely italian restaurant with authentic cuisine.....BUT They're are losing customers fast as a new restaurant with not classical, but more 'joking around' kind of food takes all there business. Will a 'Big Night' of cooking and preparing for a HUGE dinner party with a special guest save the restaurant? Overall, great film. Full Review »
  2. DavidO.
    Aug 31, 2006
    One of the finest "little movies" of the last 30 years. An absolute gem full of spot-on acting and wonderful writing.
  3. TravisR.
    Sep 15, 2005
    It is perfect.