When the film was released, the New York Herald Tribune wrote:
Billy Wilder has adapted James Cain’s story with uncompromising artistry. His staging makes the offering one of the most vital and arresting films of the year. With perfectly coordinated acting by Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, and Edward G. Robinson and the lesser players, it hits clean and hard right between the eyes. Wilder has made a sensational contribution to filmmaking in Double Indemnity.