Pather Panchali has won many national and international awards. At India's 3rd National Film Awards in 1955, it was named Best Feature Film and Best Bengali Feature Film. The next year, it competed for the Palme d'Or at Cannes, where it won Best Human Document and an OCIC Award – Special Mention. More awards from film festivals across the world followed: the Vatican Award (Rome), the Golden Carbao (Manila), and the Diploma of Merit (Edinburgh) in 1956; the Selznick Golden Laurel for Best Film (Berlin), the Golden Gate for Best Director and Best Picture (San Francisco) in 1957; Best Film (Vancouver), and the Critics' Award for Best Film (Stratford) in 1958. It also won several awards for best foreign-language film: at the National Board of Review Awards 1958; at the Afro Arts Theater, New York, 1959; the Kinema Jumpo Award in Japan, 1966; and the Bodil Award in Denmark, 1969. In 1958 it had been nominated for Best Film at the 11th British Academy Film Awards.
Sight & Sound, the British Film Institute's (BFI) magazine, has included Pather Panchali several times in its Critics' Polls of the greatest-ever films. In 1962, it ranked 11th; in 1992, 6th; and in 2002, 22nd. The magazine ranked the film 42nd in its 2012 list of "Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time". In 1998, in a similar critics' poll from Asian film magazine Cinemaya, Pather Panchali was ranked the second-greatest film of all time. The Village Voice ranked the film at number 12 (tied with The Godfather) in its Top 250 "Best Films of the Century" list in 1999, based on a poll of critics.
Pather Panchali was included in various other all-time lists, including Time Out's "Centenary Top One Hundred Films" in 1995, the San Francisco Chronicle "Hot 100 Films From the Past" in 1997, the Rolling Stone "100 Maverick Movies of the Last 100 Years" in 1999, "The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made" in 2002, the BFI Top Fifty "Must See" Children's Films in 2005, and BFI's "Top 10 Indian Films" of all time. It was included in NDTV's list of "India's 20 greatest films", and in 2013 in CNN-IBN's list of "100 greatest Indian films of all time". The Apu trilogy as a whole was included in film critic Roger Ebert's list of "100 Great Movies" in 2001 and in Time's All-Time 100 best movies list in 2005.