What Are the Most Memorable Moments in the 'Toy Story' Trilogy?

The Pixar Franchise's Most Memorable Scenes

Since they have collectively earned nearly two billion dollars at the worldwide box office, the films have justifiably become an indelible part of animated-movie history. Their success is due to a number of factors, including Pixar’s astounding artistry, flawless vocal performances, and thoroughly lovable characters. It’s almost impossible to single out just five memorable moments in this near flawless trilogy, but we've nevertheless compiled a list of what we believe are the most surprising and entertaining sequences in each of the three films.

01
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Jessie’s Heartbreaking Backstory (Toy Story 2)

Through much of the first half of , Jessie’s (Joan Cusack) heartbreaking past is referred to in the vaguest of terms by the other characters. Her history is finally revealed in a montage set to Randy Newman’s Oscar-nominated song “When She Loved Me” (which is beautifully sung by Sarah McLachlan). The sequence, which runs under three minutes, details Jessie’s relationship with her previous owner, Emily, as their blissful bond is inevitably strained as Emily blossoms into adolescence and leaves her childhood behind (which, sadly, includes Jessie). It’s a brief stretch of film that easily ranks as one of the most emotionally devastating montages in cinematic history, animated or live action and without a single line of dialogue explains Jessie's issues with abandonment.

02
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The Toys Reveal Their True Selves to Sid (Toy Story)

Toy Story
Pixar

There are few villains within Pixar’s body of work that are as terrifying as Sid, the skull-shirt wearing adolescent who gets his kicks by dismembering and destroying toys of all shapes and sizes. Sid turns his destructive gaze towards Buzz (Tim Allen) and sets into motion a plan designed to leave everybody’s favorite space ranger nothing more than a pile of broken plastic. Woody (Tom Hanks), along with the damaged toys from Sid’s bedroom, hatches a plan to both rescue Buzz and teach Sid a valuable lesson. It requires the various playthings to, as Woody notes, “break a few rules” by showing Sid that they’re all living, breathing creatures and not just inanimate objects that can be demolished at will.

03
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Woody Makes an Impossible Choice (Toy Story 2)

Pixar has never shied away from unexpectedly adult themes and conflicts. One of the most potent examples of this is undoubtedly the choice that Woody is forced to make towards the end of . Though he’s initially horrified to have been kidnapped by Al (of Al’s Toy Barn), Woody is shocked to learn that he is part of a family of toys that includes Jessie the cowgirl (Joan Cusack), Stinky Pete the Prospector (Kelsey Grammer), and a loyal horse named Bullseye. Woody is set to accompany his new friends to a toy museum in Japan when several of Andy’s toys unexpectedly emerge to rescue him and take him home, which forces the easy-going cowboy to choose between his comfortable old life and a new adventure.

04
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Woody and Buzz Attempt to Reunite with Andy (Toy Story)

After making their hair-raising escape from Sid and his vicious pit bull, Woody and Buzz attempt to catch up to the moving van that’s carrying the rest of Andy’s beloved toys – including Hamm (John Ratzenberger), Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles), and Rex (Wallace Shawn). It’s a task that’s inevitably fraught with complications and close calls, as the loyal twosome find themselves confronted with one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after another. Though it seems as though Woody and Buzz are saved after they commandeer Andy’s remote-controlled car, RC, it runs out of batteries and Woody is forced to ignite the firecracker that’s still strapped to Buzz – which allows Buzz to once and for all prove that he knows just how to "fall with style."

05
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Buzz Goes Spanish (Toy Story 3)

Buzz undergoes a lot of changes in the Toy Story trilogy – he starts out convinced that he’s the real Buzz Lightyear and eventually accepts his place as a child’s plaything – yet it’s his brief stint as a hot-blooded Spaniard in that stands out as his most memorable transformation. The change, which is triggered by Rex after he holds down Buzz’s reset button for too long, turns the stiff-necked space ranger into a charismatic, flamenco-dancing heartthrob, which amuses Jessie as much as it annoys Woody and results in a number of hilarious misunderstandings and mixups.

Edited by Christopher McKittrick