Toy Story

1995 American animated film

Toy Story is a 1995 American computer animated buddy fantasy comedy adventure movie. It was the first Disney/Pixar animated movie. Pixar made the movie while Disney packaged it and sold the movie to movie theaters. It was released on November 22, 1995. It was the first animated movie to be completely done with computers instead of hand-drawn animation. Toy Story had three sequels, with Toy Story 2 being released November 13, 1999.

Toy Story
Directed byJohn Lasseter
Screenplay by
Story by
Produced by
Edited by
Music byRandy Newman
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures Distribution
Release dates
  • November 19, 1995 (1995-11-19) (El Capitan Theatre)
  • November 22, 1995 (1995-11-22) (United States)
Running time
88 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$30 million[2]
Box office$373 million[3]

Sheriff Woody, a pull-string cowboy doll, is the leader of a group of toys that belong to a boy named Andy and come to life when humans are not to be seen. With his family moving to a new house and having a birthday party for Andy, the toys try to figure out what Andy's new presents are since they’re worried about being replaced. Andy gets a space ranger Buzz Lightyear action figure, who replaces Woody as Andy's favourite toy. Buzz does not know that he is a toy when Woody tries to convince him and thinks that he is a real space ranger. While the other toys befriend Buzz, Woody hates Buzz out of jealousy.

Andy prepares to go to a Pizza restaurant and arcade called Pizza Planet with Buzz. Woody tries to stop this from happening by knocking Buzz behind a desk but accidentally knocks him out of a window instead, making the toys angry. Andy takes Woody to Pizza Planet with him instead. However, Buzz climbs into the car and confronts Woody when they stop at a gas station. The two toys fight and accidentally fall out of the car, which drives off and leaves them behind. Woody sees a pickup truck bound for Pizza Planet and plans to rendezvous with Andy there, convincing Buzz to come with him by saying that the pickup truck can take him to his home planet. Once at Pizza Planet, Buzz makes his way into a claw game machine shaped like a spaceship, thinking that it is the ship that Woody had promised him. Inside, he finds a horde of squeaky aliens who revere the machine's claw arm as their master. When Woody follows Buzz into the game to try to rescue him, the two of them are captured by Andy's next door neighbor, Sid Phillips, who likes to torture and destroy toys for fun.

The two toys try to escape from Sid's house before Andy and his family move, encountering nightmarish toys which Sid's made as well as Sid's vicious dog, Scud. Buzz sees a commercial for Buzz Lightyear action figures just like himself and realizes that Woody was right about him being a toy. Unable to face the truth, Buzz tries to prove he is still a space ranger by attempting to fly out of the window, but falls and loses one of his arms. Buzz becomes too depressed over the truth to participate in Woody's escape plan. This forces Woody to try and get the other toys attention in Andy's room by waving Buzz's disconnected arm, but the other toys still distrust him for what happened to Buzz and leave him behind. Woody realizes that Sid's mutant toys are friendly when they fix Buzz's arm but is forced to hide when Sid arrives, leaving Buzz behind. Sid prepares to destroy Buzz by strapping him to a rocket, but is delayed by a thunderstorm and sleeps for the night. Woody convinces Buzz life is worth living even if he is not a space ranger because of the joy he can bring to Andy, and helps Buzz regain his spirit. Cooperating with Sid's mutant toys, Woody stages a rescue for Buzz and scares Sid away by coming to life in front of him. However, the two miss Andy's car as it drives away to his new house.

Running down the road, they climb onto a moving truck but Scud chases them and Buzz tackles the dog to save Woody. Woody attempts to rescue Buzz with Andy's RC car but the other toys, who think that Woody got rid of RC, toss Woody off onto the road. Spotting Woody driving RC back with Buzz alive, the other toys realize their mistake and try to help them into the truck. When RC's batteries become depleted, Woody ignites the rocket on Buzz's back and manages to throw RC into the moving truck just in time before they go soaring into the air. Buzz then opens his wings to cut himself free before the rocket explodes, and he and Woody glide through the air and land safely in the car. Andy looks in the box and is relieved to have found Woody and Buzz.

On Christmas Eve at their new house, Buzz and Woody stage another reconnaissance mission to prepare for the new toy arrivals, one of which is a Mrs. Potato Head, much to the delight of Mr. Potato Head. Woody jokingly asks Buzz "What could Andy possibly get that is worse than you?", a question which is immediately answered; Andy's new gift, as it turns out, is a puppy, and the two share a worried smile.

Main cast
  • Tom Hanks as Sheriff Woody, a cowboy pull string doll[4]
  • Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, a Space Ranger figure[4]
  • Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head, an angry potato shaped doll with put together pieces on his body
  • Jim Varney as Slinky Dog, a slinky dog toy
  • Wallace Shawn as Rex, a cowardly green T-rex
  • John Ratzenberger as Hamm, a wisecracking piggy bank
  • Annie Potts as Bo Peep, a sheepherdess and Woody's love interest.
  • John Morris as Andy Davis, the young boy who owns all the toys[4]
  • Erik Detten as Sid Phillips, Andy's next door neighbor, who destroys toys for his own amusement[4]
  • Laurie Metcalf as Andy's Mom
  • R. Lee Ermey as Sarge, a green plastic figure soldier[4]
  • Sarah Freeman as Hannah Phillips, Sid's sister[4]
  • Joe Ranft as Lenny[5]
Additonal voices


  • Non-speaking characters include Scud, Barrel of Monkeys, Etch A Sketch, Snake, Clown, Babyface, RC, and Buster.


Toy Story
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedNovember 15, 1995
Show tunes
LabelWalt Disney
ProducerChris Montan (Don Davis, Jim Flamberg, Don Was, Frank Wolf, Randy Newman)
Randy Newman chronology
Toy Story James and the Giant Peach
Pixar soundtrack chronology
A Bug's Life
Singles from Toy Story
  1. "You've Got a Friend in Me"
    Released: April 12, 1996

Track listing

  1. You've Got a Friend in Me
  2. Strange Things
  3. Pizza Planet Rock by Nickelback
  4. I Will Go Sailing No More by Michael Crawford
  5. The Boys Are Back in Town by Thin Lizzy
  1. Andy's Birthday by Randy Newman
  2. Soldier's Mission by Michael Kamen
  3. Presents by Michael Kamen
  4. Buzz by Michael Kamen
  5. Sid by Michael Kamen
  6. Woody and Buzz by Randy Newman and Michael Kamen
  7. Mutants by Randy Newman
  8. Woody's Gone by Michael Kamen
  9. The Big One by Randy Newman
  10. Hang Together by Randy Newman
  11. On the Move by Randy Newman and Michael Kamen
  12. Infinity and Beyond by Randy Newman and Michael Kamen



Pixar's Oscar-winning short film Tin Toy (directed by Lasseter) 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.[9] The deal gave Pixar a three-film deal (with Toy Story being the first) as well as 10% of the films' profits.[10][11]

Toy Story's script was strongly influenced by the ideas of screenwriter Robert McKee. The script went through many changes before the final version. John 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).[12]

Billy Crystal was going to play as Buzz, but later refused this role, although he would voice Mike Wazowski in Pixar's later movie, Monsters, Inc.[13][14] Katzenberg took the role to Tim Allen, who was appearing in Disney's Home Improvement, and Allen accepted the Role.[12] Toy Story was both Hanks and Allen's first animated film role.[15]

Lasster's 1993 draft of the film was disastrous, presenting Woody as a "sarcastic jerk" because Katzenberg kept sending notes to Pixar saying that he wanted more edge to the character. Katzenberg talked with Walt Disney Feature Animation president Peter Schneider in the hall during the screening and asked him why it was so bad. Schneider responded that it "wasn't their movie anymore."[16] Schneider wanted to immediately shut down production, fire all recently hired animators and move the key writers (John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter and Joe Ranft) into the Disney Studio, pending a new script approved by Disney. Pixar refused and said that the entire story will be changed in two weeks.[17] As promised, two weeks later a new script had been written that made Woody a more likable character. It also included a more adult-orientated staff meeting amongst the toys rather than a juvenile group discussion that had existed in earlier drafts. Buzz Lightyear's character was also changed slightly "to make it more clear to the audience that he really doesn't realize he's a toy" as John Lasseter remarked.[17] After the second screening Katzenberg restarted production.[12] The voice actors returned in March 1994 to record their new lines.[18]

Toy Story was made on a $30 million budget,[19] using a staff of 110 people;[19] Lasseter told how hard of the computer animation was to do in the film: "We had to make things look more organic. Every leaf and blade of grass had to be created. We had to give the world a sense of history. So the doors are banged up, the floors have scuffs."[18]

According to Lee Unkrich, one of the original editors of Toy Story, there was a scene that was cut out of the movie. In this scene, Sid, after he leaves Pizza Planet, tortures Buzz and Woody violently. Unkrich decided to cut right into the scene where Sid was interrogating the toys because the creators of the movie thought the audience would be loving Buzz and Woody at that point.[20] Another scene, where Woody was trying to get Buzz's attention when he was stuck in the box crate, was shortened because the creators felt it would "lose the energy of the movie."[20] 2 more deleted scenes, abandoned at the story reel stage,[20] were actually seen as active scenes in Toy Story 2. The first scene was an opening sequence as a Buzz Lightyear cartoon, which ended up as a video game, and the second was the famed "Woody's Nightmare" scene, where Woody is thrown out, as he fails to glow in the dark and destroyed by cockroaches, but in Toy Story 2, he was thrown out because his arm was broken, and he was sucked in by other broken toys.[20]



"Yes, we worry about what the critics say. Yes, we worry about what the opening box office is going to be. Yes, we worry about what the final box office is going to be. But really, the whole point why we do what we do is to entertain our audiences. The greatest joy I get as a filmmaker is to slip into an audience for one of our movies anonymously, and watch people watch our film. Because people are 100 percent honest when they're watching a movie. And to see the joy on people's faces, to see people really get into our me is the greatest reward I could possibly get."

—John Lasseter, reflecting on the impact of the film[21]

Ever since its original 1995 release, "Toy Story" received universal acclaim. Review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes (which gave the movie an "Extremely Fresh" rating) reports that 100% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 74 reviews, with an average score of 9/10. The critical consensus is: As entertaining as it is innovative, Toy Story kicked off Pixar's unprecedented run of quality pictures, reinvigorating animated film in the process. The film is Certified Fresh.[22] At the website Metacritic, which utilizes a normalized rating system, the film earned a "universal acclaim" level rating of 96/100 based on 16 reviews by mainstream critics.[23] Reviewers liked the film for its computer animation, voice cast, and ability to appeal to numerous age groups.

Leonard Klady of Variety commended the animation's "... razzle-dazzle technique and unusual look. The camera loops and zooms in a dizzying fashion that fairly takes one's breath away."[24] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times compared the film's innovative animation to Disney's Who Framed Roger Rabbit, saying "Both movies take apart the universe of cinematic visuals, and put it back together again, allowing us to see in a new way."[25] Due to the film's animation, Richard Corliss of TIME claimed that it was "... the year's most inventive comedy."[26]

The voice cast was also praised by various critics. Susan Wloszczyna of USA Today approved of the selection of Hanks and Allen for the lead roles.[27] Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times stated that "Starting with Tom Hanks, who brings an invaluable heft and believability to Woody, Toy Story is one of the best voiced animated features in memory, with all the actors ... making their presences strongly felt."[28] Several critics also recognized the film's ability to appeal to children and adults.[25][29] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly wrote: "It has the purity, the ecstatic freedom of imagination, that's the hallmark of the greatest children's films. It also has the kind of spring-loaded allusive prankishness that, at times, will tickle adults even more than it does kids."[30]

In 1995, Toy Story was named eighth in TIME's list of the best ten films of 1995.[31] In 2011, TIME named it one of "The 25 All-TIME Best Animated Films".[32] It also ranks at number 99 in Empire magazines list of the 500 Greatest Films of All Time. .[33]

In 2003, the Online Film Critics Society ranked the film as the greatest animated film of all time.[34] In 2007, the Visual Effects Society named the film 22nd in its list of the "Top 50 Most Influential Visual Effects Films of All Time".[35] In 2005 the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, one of five films to be selected in its first year of eligibility.[36] The film is ranked ninety-ninth on the AFI's list of the hundred greatest American films of all time.[37][38][39] It was one of only two animated films on the list, the other being Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was also sixth best in the animation genre on AFI's 10 Top 10.

Director Terry Gilliam would praise the film as "a work of genius. It got people to understand what toys are about. They're true to their own character. And that's just brilliant. It's got a shot that's always stuck with me, when Buzz Lightyear discovers he's a toy. He's sitting on this landing at the top of the staircase and the camera pulls back and he's this tiny little figure. He was this guy with a massive ego two seconds before... and it's stunning. I'd put that as one of my top ten films, period."[40]


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