Bambi lost money at the box office for its first release, but recouped its considerable cost during the 1947 re-release.] Although the film received good reviews, the timing of the release, during World War II, hurt the film's box office numbers. The film did not do so well at the box office in the U.S., and the studio no longer had access to many European markets that provided a large portion of its profits. Roy Disney sent a telegram to his brother Walt after the New York opening of the film that read: "Fell short of our holdover figure by $4,000. Just came from Music Hall. Unable to make any deal to stay third week...Night business is our problem."
What also hurt box office numbers is the realistic animation of the animals, and the story of their fight against the evil humans in the story. Hunters spoke out against the movie, saying it was "an insult to American sportsmen". The criticism, however, was short-lived, and the financial shortfall of its first release was made up multiple times in the subsequent re-releases.
Today, the film is viewed as a classic. Critics Mick Martin and Marsha Porter call the film "...the crowning achievement of Walt Disney's animation studio". In June 2008, the American Film Institute revealed its “Ten top Ten” — the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres — after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Bambi was acknowledged as the third best film in the animation genre. It is also listed in the Top 25 Horror Movies of all Time by Time Magazine. Bambi, Time states, "has a primal shock that still haunts oldsters who saw it 40, 50, 65 years ago."