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All 4 ‘Toy Story’ Movies, Ranked

1995’s Toy Story was a truly groundbreaking film that forever changed animation. The movie launched a highly successful series and franchise, cemented Pixar as a force to be reckoned with in animation, and confirmed that 2D animation would soon fall out of style in favor of computer-animated imagery.




The sequels to Toy Story lived up to the original’s reputation, becoming synonymous with Pixar and earning a place among the all-time best movies. Well, most of them, anyway. Indeed, while every film in the Toy Story series is good, some are outright incredible, genuine masterpieces of the medium that tower above their competition. And with a fifth Toy Story film already in development, it’s safe to say Woody and company are not going anywhere anytime soon.


4 ‘Toy Story 4’ (2019)

Director: Josh Cooley

Characters from Toy Story 4 including Woody voiced by Tom Hanks, Buzz Lightyear voiced by Tim Allen, and Forky voiced by Tony Hale
Image via Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Nine years after the release of the incredible Toy Story 3, the Toy Story franchise came back to life with the release of Toy Story 4. The plot sees Woody and his friends on a road trip with Bonnie. When he gets separated, he reunites with his long-lost love, Bo Peep, and discovers just how grand the life of a toy can be.


Toy Story 4 is a classic case of a fourth movie messing up what could’ve been a great trilogy, and not because it’s a bad movie. On the contrary, Toy Story 4 is charming, funny, and heartwarming, featuring the series’ now-trademark brand of humor and heart in spades. However, its predecessor simply set the bar too high for it to reach it, let alone surpass it. The third movie provided the perfect ending for this group of friends, so seeing them back feels somewhat bittersweet. It also doesn’t help that Buzz and most of the non-Woody toys take a backseat for most of the movie, allowing the film to introduce several new characters, none of whom can quite match the originals. Overall, Toy Story 4 is a great movie that feels somewhat unnecessary, and while it does push the series into a new and exciting territory, it can’t help but feel underwhelming compared to what came before.


toy-story-4-final-poster

Toy Story 4

Release Date
June 21, 2019

Runtime
100 minutes

Writers
John Lasseter , Andrew Stanton , Pete Docter , Lee Unkrich , Will McCormack , Stephany Folsom

Watch on Disney+

3 ‘Toy Story’ (1995)

Director: John Lasseter

Buzz and Woody flying in Toy Story (1995)
Image via Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The original Toy Story came out in 1996 and forever changed the way audiences looked at animation. Tom Hanks lent his voice to Woody, a toy cowboy and the favorite of a child named Andy. However, things change when Andy receives the modern Buzz Lightyear, voiced by Tim Allen, an astronaut with gadgets that threatens to take Woody’s place as Andy’s favorite.


Toy Story is a remarkable blend of thought-provoking themes and stunning animation. The film deals with classic coming-of-age issues like abandonment and adaptation through a relatable, sweet, and incredibly original story that remains fresh today. With a colorful collection of characters, a spirited voice cast, incredible music from Randy Newman, and vibrant animation that practically leaps off the screen, Toy Story marked a new dawn for the medium of animation and introduced Pixar as a true force to be reckoned with. The film features some of the best songs in Disney’s canon, including the now-iconic “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” which has become synonymous with the franchise, and the underrated “Strange Things.” More importantly, Toy Story is a timeless tale of friendship that sneaks its heartwarming messages without beating the audience over the head with them,


toy-story-movie-poster

Toy Story

Release Date
October 30, 1995

Runtime
81

Writers
John Lasseter , Pete Docter , Andrew Stanton , Joe Ranft , Joss Whedon , Joel Cohen

Watch on Disney+

2 ‘Toy Story 2’ (1999)

Director: John Lasseter

Bullseye, Jesse and Woody look shocked in Toy Story 2.
Image via Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Four years after the original’s release, Pixar produced a sequel to Toy Story. The aptly named Toy Story 2 sees Woody get stolen by Al, a toy dealer seeking to sell him as part of a collection of the once-popular show “Woody’s Roundup.” As Woody realizes his value and meets the horse Bullseye and the melancholic Jessie, the yodeling cowgirl, he begins to question his place as Andy’s toy.


Toy Story 2 takes everything that worked about its predecessor and enhances it through a rich and emotional story. Additions to the cast include a spectacular Joan Cusack as Jessie and Kelsey Grammer as the secretly nefarious Stinky Pete. The highlight of the movie comes as Jessie retells her tragic backstory to the soulful tune “When She Loved Me,” brought to life by Sarah McLachlan‘s tender voice. It’s among Pixar’s most powerful and piercing scenes, a testament to animation’s ability to touch audiences’ hearts. Toy Story 2 is twice as emotional yet far more rewarding than Toy Story, effortlessly blending lighthearted humor with a truly poignant narrative that will undoubtedly resonate with everyone in the audience. Indeed, Toy Story 2 is the rare sequel that surpasses the original in every possible metric, from characterization to scope and ambition.


Toy Story 2 Film Poster

Toy Story 2

Release Date
November 24, 1999

Runtime
92 minutes

Writers
John Lasseter , Pete Docter , Ash Brannon , Andrew Stanton , Rita Hsiao , Doug Chamberlin

Watch on Disney+

1 ‘Toy Story 3’ (2010)

Director: Lee Unkrich

Scene in Toy Story 3 with Woody voiced by Tom Hanks, Buzz Lightyear voiced by Tim Allen as they sit in the trash about to be incinerated.
Image via Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Over a decade after Toy Story 2, the franchise came back to life with the triumphant Toy Story 3. Set nine years after the second film, Toy Story 3 sees a now-17-year-old Andy preparing for college and struggling to decide what to do with his toys. When they get accidentally donated to a daycare center, the group must fight to return Woody to Andy before he leaves for college.


For the lack of a better word, Toy Story 3 is a masterpiece of cinema and one of the all-time best family movies. A logical conclusion to the toys’ journey, the film is a cathartic and profoundly emotional experience brought to life through superb and often jaw-dropping animation. Toy Story 3 features what’s possibly the single most striking sequence in any American-made animated movie, as the toys brace for their seemingly impending doom with courageous resignation. Toy Story is among the few cinematic sagas that grew up alongside its audience, and Toy Story 3 is the perfect coda for that fourteen-year journey. The film became the third animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, receiving four additional nominations and winning two statuettes. A cinematic achievement of incredible proportions, Toy Story 3 is a work of true genius and possibly Pixar’s crowning achievement.


toy story 3 poster

Toy Story 3

Release Date
June 16, 2010

Runtime
103

Writers
Michael Arndt , John Lasseter , Andrew Stanton , Lee Unkrich

Watch on Disney+

NEXT: The 10 Highest-Grossing Pixar Movies

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