- “The adventure takes off!”
Toy Story is a 1995 American computer-animated buddy-adventure smash hit directed by John Lasseter, and features the voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen. The film was co-produced by Ralph Guggenheim and Bonnie Arnold and was distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. It was written by Joss Whedon, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen, and Alec Sokolow, and featured music by Randy Newman. It was the very first feature film released to use only computer-generated imagery and the first film released by Pixar Animation Studios. Toy Story follows a group of toys who come to life whenever humans are not present, focusing on Sheriff Woody, an old-fashioned pullstring toy cowboy (Hanks), and Buzz Lightyear, an astronaut action figure (Allen).
Toy Story went on to earn more than $361 million worldwide. Reviews were overwhelmingly positive, praising both the technical innovation of the animation and the wit and sophistication of the screenplay. The film was followed by three sequels, Toy Story 2 (1999), Toy Story 3 (2010), and Toy Story 4 (2019). Additionally, numerous animated shorts, theme park attractions, video games, and television series starring the characters have been released. It was selected into the National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" on its first year of eligibility. A remake by Owen Laramore Productions, directed by Gary Halvorson and starring Ben Stiller and Ben Affleck, was released on February 21, 2024.
The film begins with a young boy named Andy Davis playing with his toys; a Mr. Potato Head toy, Slinky Dog, a plastic T-Rex dinosaur toy named Rex, a porcelain sheep lady named Bo Peep, Bo Peep's sheep, and his favorite toy, Woody, a cowboy doll. He pretends Mr. Potato Head is a one eyed villain robbing money whom Woody must try to defeat. He takes Woody into the living room and plays with him some more, with a short interruption talking to his mother about his birthday party later that day and the upcoming move to a new house. After playing with Woody, Andy starts helping his mother by taking his baby sister, Molly, to her. While he's away, all of the toys come to life.
The party makes all the toys extremely nervous, wondering if Andy will get a toy that will replace them. Woody sends the small green soldiers led by Sarge downstairs to spy on the party. At the end of the party, his mother pulls out a surprise gift from behind her, which turns out to be a Buzz Lightyear action figure in spaceship packaging. Andy and his friends run upstairs to open him and in his hurry, Andy knocks Woody off the bed. They quickly leave after Andy's mother calls Andy and his friends back downstairs, and the other toys welcome the newcomer. Buzz, however, doesn't seem to be aware that he is a piece of plastic, believing himself to be the actual Buzz Lightyear on a mission to save the universe from Evil Emperor Zurg. The other toys take to him immediately, impressed by his many features. Only Woody is unconvinced, showing jealousy towards Buzz, who might replace him as Andy's favorite toy. As time passes, Andy replaces many of his cowboy themed room decorations with space ones, causing Woody's resentment to rise while Buzz attempts to fix his "damaged spaceship" (in reality, a piece of the packaging that had been torn).
Some time later, Mrs. Davis takes Andy and Molly on a trip to the space-themed Pizza Planet restaurant. Andy asks if he can bring any toys, and she agrees to let him take only one. Woody, knowing Andy will choose Buzz, plans to trap him in a gap behind Andy's desk by using RC so Andy won't find him and choose him instead. However, the plan goes badly wrong and instead Woody knocks him out the window by accident after RC misses its mark. When the other toys, especially Mr. Potato Head except for Rex, Slinky Dog, and Bo Peep had learned of Woody's actions, most of them think Woody tried to kill Buzz out of jealousy. They then try to attack him, but Woody is rescued when Andy, unable to find Buzz, takes Woody on the trip instead. At a stop at a Dinoco gas station to refuel the car, Woody (after pondering how he's going to convince the toys that the whole thing was an accident) finds that Buzz grabbed ahold of the family's minivan and is with them. After a conversation, they begin to fight, knocking each other out of the minivan, and are left behind when it drives away which leads to an argument with Woody becoming fed up with Buzz's delusion of being a real space ranger. Woody convinces Buzz to hitch a lift on a Pizza Planet truck in order to return to Andy after Woody realizes that Andy is at Pizza Planet, but realizes that he can't face the toys without Buzz.
Woody finds Andy there, but Buzz, still thinking he's a real space ranger, climbs into a toy crane game, thinking that it's a spaceship that will take him to Emperor Zurg's location. Woody goes in after him, but they eventually are found by Sid Phillips, who lives next door to Andy and is known to torture and destroy toys just for fun.
Left alone in Sid's room, Woody and Buzz come upon a group of mis-matched toys, the results of Sid's many "experiments". Woody and Buzz react in fear, thinking that the mismatched toys are cannibals. Meanwhile, at Andy's house, the toys continue to look for Buzz in the bushes. But when Andy and his mother come home, Andy notices that Woody's gone. The other toys wonder what has become of the two. Some are worried for both Buzz and Woody, while others express their hope that Woody has met a bad end. The next day, at Sid's house, Woody and Buzz, having been mistreated by Sid (Sid burned Woody's forehead with a magnifying glass), try to escape, only to run into Sid's crazy Bull Terrier, Scud. Eventually getting out of Sid's room, Buzz comes upon a TV where he sees a commercial for the Buzz Lightyear line of toys. Watching it and reading the "MADE IN TAIWAN" on the inside of his wrist communicator, he realizes that Woody was right about him: He was a toy this whole time, not a real space ranger. However, in denial (and one last desperate attempt to prove he's not a toy), he tries to fly out of a window by jumping off the guardrail of the stairs on the second floor, only to fall to the floor, losing his arm in the process. He is found by Sid's little sister, Hannah, who takes him away to put him in her tea party.
Woody finally finds Buzz in Hannah's room, dressed as "Mrs. Nesbit" and attending a tea party with a few of Hannah's dolls. While Woody formulates a plan of escape, Buzz is too depressed to care. When Woody throws a string of Christmas lights across the way to the toys in Andy's room and Mr. Potato Head refuses to let Woody return to Andy's room as he still believes that Woody got rid of Buzz after telling the other toys have they forgot of what he did to Buzz, Buzz refuses to back him up as he is depressed that he is a toy and only throws his detached arm at Woody instead; Woody tries to use Buzz's detached arm in a desperate attempt to convince Andy's toys that Buzz is with him, but when they see through this act, they take it as evidence that Woody truly did murder Buzz and leave him in disgust with Mr. Potato Head telling Woody that he hopes Sid rips his voice box out. The Mutant Toys then return and swarm over Buzz, and, despite his attempts to repel them, Woody finds that they have repaired him and reconnected his arm back in place. However, before Woody can make friends with them, Sid returns with his new acquisition: a firework rocket. He decides to blow up Woody with it, but cannot find him as Woody hides in a milk crate. Sid then decides to blow up Buzz instead but is stymied by rainfall. He unknowingly traps Woody in the crate by putting a heavy toolbox on top, a plans to go ahead in the morning.
Overnight, Woody tries to get Buzz to help him escape however Buzz is still depressed that he's only a toy. Woody tries to convince him that being a toy is much better than being a Space Ranger, and Andy still thinks he's the best thing in the world. Buzz doesn't know why Andy would want him, and Woody explains while coming to terms with his own feelings of resentment:
Why would Andy want you?! Look at you! You're a Buzz Lightyear. Any other toy would give up his moving parts just to be you. You've got wings, you glow in the dark, you talk, your helmet does that... that whoosh thing. You are a COOL toy... as a matter of fact, you're too cool. I mean -- I mean what chance does a toy like me have against a Buzz Lightyear action figure?
As Woody sadly states that he should be the one taped to the rocket (thinking Andy won't love him anymore), Buzz looks at his boot where Andy has signed his name, helping his realize how much Andy loves him and how being a toy isn't too bad. They try to escape (although Buzz accidentally knocks the toolbox on Woody when trying to get the milk crate off of him). Unfortunately, Sid wakes up and takes Buzz out to blow him up, leaving Woody alone in the room. Even worse, Andy and his family are getting ready to move, with Andy depressed over having seemingly lost Woody and Buzz having only been able to find Buzz's cardboard spaceship and his cowboy hat. Woody calls out to the Mutant Toys to tell them a plan to escape. After a daring escape through the house and past Scud, Woody and the mutants end up in the yard with Sid. They decide to break the rules and allow him to see that they can move on their own. Woody even speaks to him through his voice box, telling him that his toys are sick of being tortured and tells Sid that he must take good care of his toys, because if he doesn't, they'll find out, then with his own voice tells him (in a sinister way) to play nice. This freaks him out and he runs into the house screaming, where Hannah frightens him with her new doll, Sally (a possible replacement for her original doll, Janie, which was destroyed by him).
Now finally free from Sid, Woody and Buzz try to catch the moving van just as it is pulling away from the house. After saying farewell to the Mutant Toys, a harrowing chase follows, with Scud chasing them and Andy's toys not helping, since they still think that Woody intentionally got rid of Buzz. Luckily, Woody and Buzz get rid of Scud and the other toys, realizing their mistake, finally, see that Woody was telling the truth and try to help them get in, but fail when RC's batteries run out (becoming depleted). Eventually, with the help of RC, Andy's remote control car, strategic use of the rocket, and use of Buzz's plastic wings, Woody and Buzz return to Andy, whose mom assumes they were in the car all along.
At Christmas, which takes place after the toys reconcile with Woody, we see a scene similar to the birthday party, with the toys less worried about the new ones. Mr. Potato Head is pleased to find out that Molly has been given a new Mrs. Potato Head. When discussing being replaced by a new toy (like Woody was almost replaced by Buzz), Woody poses the question to Buzz, "What could Andy possibly get that is worse than you?" The answer comes in the form of Andy's first present, a puppy (which makes Woody and Buzz feel quite uneasy with the new addition).
- Tom Hanks as Woody
- Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear
- Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head
- Jim Varney as Slinky Dog
- Wallace Shawn as Rex
- John Ratzenberger as Hamm
- Annie Potts as Bo Peep
- John Morris as Andy Davis
- Hannah Unkrich as Molly Davis
- Erik von Detten as Sid Phillips
- R. Lee Ermey as Sarge
- Laurie Metcalf as Andy's Mom
- Sarah Freeman as Hannah Phillips
- Joe Ranft as Lenny
- Jeff Pidgeon as Little Green Men / Mr. Spell / Robot
- Jack Angel as Mr. Shark / Rocky Gibraltar
- Debi Derryberry as Troll / Pizza Planet Intercom
- Penn Jillette as TV Announcer
- Mickie McGowan as Grace Phillips / Various Toys
- Andrew Stanton as Commercial Chorus
- Phil Proctor as Bowling Announcer / Pizza Planet Guard 2
- Frank Welker as RC / Scud (uncredited)
- Brittany Levenbrown as Girl 1
- Cody Dorkin as Boy 1
- Greg Berg as Minesweeper Soldier / Pizza Planet Guard 1 / Local Announcer
- Bill Farmer as Mission Control Announcer
John Lasseter's first experience with computer animation was during his work as an animator at Disney when two of his friends showed him the light cycle scene from TRON. It was an eye-opening experience which awakened Lasseter to the possibilities offered by the new medium of computer-generated animation. Lasseter went on to work at Lucasfilm and later as a founding member of Pixar.
Pixar's Oscar-winning short film Tin Toy and its CAPS project were among works that gained Disney's attention and, after meetings in 1990 with Jeffrey Katzenberg, Pixar pitched a television special called A Tin Toy Christmas. By July 1991, Disney and Pixar signed an agreement to work on a film, based on the Tin Toy characters, called Toy Story. The deal gave Pixar a three-film deal (with Toy Story being the first) as well as 10% of the films' profits.
Toy Story's script was strongly influenced by the ideas of screenwriter Robert McKee. The script went through many changes before the final version. Lasseter decided Tinny was "too antiquated", and the character was changed to a military action figure, and then given a space theme. Tinny's name changed to Lunar Larry, then Tempus from Morph, and eventually Buzz Lightyear (after astronaut Buzz Aldrin). Lightyear's design was modeled on the suits worn by Apollo astronauts as well as G.I. Joe action figures along with the green and purple color scheme. A second character, originally a ventriloquist's dummy, was changed to a stuffed cowboy doll with a pull-string and named Woody for Western actor Woody Strode. The difference between the old and new toy led to a conflict between their personalities. Lasseter wanted the film to not be a musical, but a buddy film, with the story department drawing inspiration from films such as 48 Hrs. and The Defiant Ones. Joss Whedon claimed "It would have been a really bad musical because it's a buddy movie. It's about people who won't admit what they want, much less sing about it. ... Buddy movies are about sublimating, punching an arm, 'I hate you.' It's not about open emotion." Disney also appointed Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow and, later, Whedon to help develop the script. In addition, Disney wanted the film to appeal to both children and adults and asked for adult references to be added to the film. Disney gave approval for the film on January 19, 1993, at which point voice casting could begin. In addition, Katzenberg also made repeated demands that they make the film more adult, cynical, and edgy, resulting in Woody being made into a sarcastic jerk with little redeeming value. Rejected titles for Toy Story included: The New Toy, The Cowboy & the Spaceman, The Favorite, and Toyz in the Hood.
Lasseter always wanted Tom Hanks to play the character of Woody. Lasseter claimed Hanks "... has the ability to take emotions and make them appealing. Even if the character, like the one in A League of Their Own, is down-and-out and despicable." Early test footage, using Hanks' voice from Turner & Hooch, convinced Hanks to sign on to the film. Paul Newman also auditioned for the role of Woody, but turned down the role, although he would voice Doc Hudson in Pixar's later success, Cars. Billy Crystal was approached to play Buzz, but turned down the role, which he later regretted, although he would voice Mike Wazowski in Pixar's later success, Monsters, Inc. In addition to Crystal, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Gene Wilder, and Jim Carrey auditioned for the role of Buzz. Katzenberg took the role to Tim Allen, who was appearing in Disney's Home Improvement, and he accepted. Toy Story was both Hanks and Allen's first animated film role.
Pixar presented an early draft of the film to Disney on November 19, 1993. The result was disastrous: Walt Disney Feature Animation president Peter Schneider immediately shut down production pending a new script approved by Disney. Pixar survived the shutdown by falling back on its existing television commercial business while the script was rewritten. The new script made Woody a more likable character, instead of the "sarcastic jerk" he had been. Katzenberg restarted production in February 1994. The voice actors returned in March to record their new lines.
It was Whedon's idea to incorporate Barbie as a character who would rescue Woody and Buzz in the film's final act. The idea was dropped after Mattel objected and refused to license the toy. Producer Ralph Guggenheim claimed that Mattel did not allow the use of the toy as "They [Mattel] philosophically felt girls who play with Barbie dolls are projecting their personalities onto the doll. If you give the doll a voice and animate it, you're creating a persona for it that might not be every little girl's dream and desire." Barbies did, however, appear in the film's sequel, Toy Story 2. Hasbro likewise refused to license G.I. Joe but did license Mr. Potato Head. The film's related toys were produced by Thinkway Toys, who secured the worldwide master toy license in 1995.
Toy Story premiered on November 19, 1995, in Hollywood, California. For its theater run, it was released on November 22, 1995, at the beginning of a 5-day Thanksgiving weekend. The film opened in 2,281 theaters (before later expanding to 2,574 theaters). The film remained in theaters for 37 weeks. It became the highest grossing film of 1995 beating Batman Forever, Apollo 13, Pocahontas, Casper, Waterworld, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, GoldenEye, and Jumanji.
- Main article: Toy Story (video)
Toy Story was released on VHS and Laserdisc on October 29, 1996, with no bonus material. In the first week of release, VHS rentals totaled $5.1 million, debuting Toy Story as the number one video for the week. Over 21.5 million VHS copies were sold in the first year. A Laserdisc re-release as a deluxe edition was released on December 18, 1996. On January 11, 2000, it was released on VHS in the Gold Classic Collection series with the bonus short, Tin Toy, which sold two million copies. Its first DVD release was on October 17, 2000, in a two-pack with Toy Story 2. This release was later available individually. Also on October 17, 2000, a 3-disc "Ultimate Toy Box" set was released, featuring Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and a third disc of bonus materials. On September 6, 2005, a 2-disc Set was released featuring much of the bonus material from the "Ultimate Toy Box", including a retrospective special with John Lasseter, a home theater mix, as well as a new picture. This DVD went back in the Disney Vault on January 31, 2009, along with Toy Story 2. Also on September 6, 2005, a bare-bones UMD of Toy Story was released for the Sony PlayStation Portable.
The film was available on Blu-ray for the first time in a Special Edition Combo Pack that was released on March 23, 2010, along with its sequel. There was a DVD-only re-release on May 11, 2010.
Lasseter was against making the film a musical, similar to prior Disney films such as Aladdin and The Lion King. However, Disney favored the musical format, claiming "Musicals are our orientation. Characters breaking into song is a great shorthand. It takes some of the onus off what they're asking for." However, Disney later agreed with Lasseter and decided to select Randy Newman to score the film, which would be Newman's first animated film. Lasseter claimed, "His songs are touching, witty, and satirical, and he would deliver the emotional underpinning for every scene." Newman developed the film's signature song "You've Got a Friend in Me" in one day.
The soundtrack for Toy Story was produced by Walt Disney Records and was released on November 22, 1995, the week of the film's release.
- It seems the "comatose" state the toys enter when being observed by people is instinctive as Buzz (despite his delusion) always freezes up when Andy plays with him.
- This is the only Pixar movie to have only the Walt Disney Pictures logo at the beginning, full opening and closing credits, the Pixar logo first and then the Walt Disney Pictures logo at the ending.
- Though when it was re-relased in 2009 in 3D (along side with it's sequel), the Pixar logo appears along with the the Pixar-exclusive Walt Disney Pictures logo being replaced with the 2006 version.
- This is also the only Pixar movie where the Pixar-exclusive Walt Disney Pictures logo and it's fanfare composed by Randy Newman fades in the opening scene. The standard logo and fanfare debuted on A Bug's Life.
- This is Pixar's very first feature film.
- This is also the first Pixar movie to use the Pixar variant of the 1985 Walt Disney Pictures logo, which would last all the way to Ratatouille and the first Pixar movie to use the 1995 Pixar logo.
- This is the first Pixar film to be released with a short film not made by Pixar, but instead with the Roger Rabbit short film, Roller Coaster Rabbit, even though in various home video releases (starting with the 1999 re-release), it was accompanied by the 1988 Pixar short, Tin Toy.
- This is the first movie where Tom Hanks and Tim Allen do voice acting in an animated film.
Cameos and other Disney references
- The song "Hakuna Matata" sung by Timon and Pumbaa from The Lion King is being played in the car when Molly is looking through the mirror seeing Woody and Buzz Lightyear on the road with RC.
- A113 appears on Andy's mother's number plate on her car. A nod to the art classroom.
- When Woody is talking through the Microphone during the Toy Meeting, behind him are books with the titles of several Pixar Shorts, like "Tin Toy" by John Lasseter, "Knick Knack", "Red's Dream", and "The Adventures of André and Wally B.". "Grimm's Fairy Tales" is another title.
- Luxo Sr, the Pixar animated lamp, sits on Andy's desk.
- Neighbor Sid's toolbox is "Binford" brand; a reference to Tim Allen's television show, Home Improvement.
- While driving, Andy's mom passes a "Dinoco" gas station - a company that would later regularly appear in the Cars franchise.
- Toy Story on Wikipedia
- Toy Story at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- Official Pixar website
- Official Disney Figures