Toy Story is a 1995 American computer-animated comedy film directed by John Lasseter (in his feature directorial debut), produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The first installment in the Toy Story franchise, it was the first entirely computer-animated feature film, as well as the first feature film from Pixar. It was written by Joss Whedon, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen, and Alec Sokolow from a story by Lasseter, Stanton, Pete Docter, and Joe Ranft. The film features music by Randy Newman, was produced by Bonnie Arnold and Ralph Guggenheim, and was executive-produced by Steve Jobs and Edwin Catmull. The film features the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Annie Potts, R. Lee Ermey, John Morris, Laurie Metcalf, and Erik von Detten.
Taking place in a world where toys come to life when humans are not present, the plot of Toy Story focuses on the relationship between an old-fashioned pull-string cowboy doll named Woody and a modern space cadet action figure, Buzz Lightyear, as Woody develops jealousy towards Buzz when he becomes their owner Andy's favorite toy.
Following the success of Tin Toy, a short film that was released in 1988, Pixar was approached by Disney to produce a computer-animated feature film that was told from a small toy's perspective. Lasseter, Stanton, and Docter wrote early story treatments, which were rejected by Disney, who wanted the film's tone to be "edgier". After several disastrous story reels, production was halted and the script was rewritten to better reflect the tone and theme Pixar desired: "toys deeply want children to play with them, and ... this desire drives their hopes, fears, and actions". The studio, then consisting of a relatively small number of employees, produced Toy Story under only minor financial constraints.
Toy Story premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles, California, United States, on November 19, 1995, and was released in theaters in North America on November 22 of that year. It was the highest-grossing film during its opening weekend, eventually grossing over $373 million worldwide, making it the second highest-grossing film of 1995. The film received critical acclaim, and holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was praised for the technical innovation of the 3D animation, screenplay, musical score, and vocal performances (particularly Hanks and Allen); it is considered by many to be one of the best animated films ever made. The film received three Academy Award nominations (Best Original Screenplay (the first animated film to be nominated for this award), Best Original Song for "You've Got a Friend in Me", and Best Original Score) as well as honoring a non-competitive Special Achievement Academy Award.
In 2005, Toy Story was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant", one of seven films designated in its first year of eligibility. The success of Toy Story launched a multimedia franchise and a series of three sequels, starting with Toy Story 2 (1999). The film also had a theatrical 3D re-release in 2009 as a part of a double feature with the second film. A spin-off, Lightyear, was released in 2022, with Chris Evans voicing the in-universe human Buzz Lightyear who inspired the action figure toyline in the Toy Story films.
Plot - In a world where toys come to life in the absence of humans, a group of toys is preparing to move into a new house with their owner, Andy Davis, his sister, Molly, and their single mother. The toys become uneasy when Andy has his birthday party a week early; pullstring cowboy doll Sheriff Woody, Andy's favorite toy and their leader, sends Sarge and his green army men to spy on the gift-opening with a baby monitor in hopes of calming the others. The other toys which include Mr. Potato Head, Slinky Dog, Rex (a toy dinosaur), Hamm (a piggy bank), and Bo Peep (a porcelain doll) are relieved when Andy receives nothing that could replace them. Andy then receives a last-minute surprise gift from his mother: A Buzz Lightyear action figure, who believes he is an actual space ranger. Buzz impresses the other toys with his various features, and becomes Andy's new favorite toy, making Woody jealous.
Two days before the move, Andy's family plans for a dinner at Pizza Planet, where Andy is allowed to bring along only one toy. To ensure Andy chooses him and not Buzz, Woody tries to use the radio-controlled car RC to knock Buzz behind the dresser, but accidentally knocks him out a window instead. Most of the other toys suspect that Woody intentionally tried to kill Buzz, but Andy arrives and takes Woody before they can exact revenge. A furious Buzz stows away in the car, and confronts Woody when the car stops at a gas station on the way to Pizza Planet. The two fight, fall out of the car, and are left behind.
After a further argument, the two hitch a ride on a Pizza Planet delivery truck and sneak into the restaurant. However, Buzz mistakes a claw crane full of Little Green Men for a spaceship, and enters it, with Woody in pursuit. Andy's sadistic next-door neighbor Sid Phillips spots and wins the two, along with a Little Green Man, and takes them to his house. Woody and Buzz encounter Sid's vicious Bull Terrier Scud and some "mutant" toys made from parts of other toys Sid has destroyed.
As Woody tries to find an escape route, Buzz is shocked to see a Buzz Lightyear action figure television commercial that proves that he is indeed just a toy. In denial, he attempts to fly, but fails, breaking his arm, sending him into a depression. After the mutant toys fix Buzz, Sid returns and tapes Buzz to a rocket, intending to blow him up, but he is forced to wait until the next morning due to bad weather. Woody helps Buzz realize that his purpose is making Andy happy, while admitting his own insecurities. This conversation restores Buzz's resolve, and the two work to get out of Sid's house. Just as Sid takes Buzz out to attempt to launch him, Woody rallies the mutant toys to frighten Sid into never harming toys again, freeing him and Buzz.
Woody and Buzz pursue Andy's moving truck, but Scud sees them and gives chase, biting Woody's ankle. Buzz fights off Scud, while Woody climbs into the truck and pushes RC out, using him to distract Scud and rescue Buzz. The other toys believe Woody is now trying to get rid of RC and toss him back into the street. Having escaped Scud, Buzz and Woody pursue the truck on RC, and the other toys spot them coming and realize their error. During the chase, RC's batteries run out, forcing Woody to light the rocket still strapped to Buzz. As they launch towards the truck, they become airborne, and Woody drops RC into the truck. Buzz opens his wings to sever the tape just before the rocket explodes; he and Woody glide over the truck and fall through the sunroof of Andy's car, landing safely beside Andy.
At Christmas, in the new house, Sarge and his men spy on the gift-opening again while the other toys wait. Mr. Potato Head is delighted when Molly gets a Mrs. Potato Head, and Woody and Buzz jokingly ponder what gift could be "worse" than Buzz, only to nervously smile at each other when Andy gets a dachshund puppy.