Pixar made animation history with 1995’s Toy Story, the first-ever feature-length computer-animated movie, and the studio kicked off the reign of computer-animated features with a near-perfect masterpiece. In addition to creating the art form, Pixar basically perfected it with Toy Story and continued to satisfy fans with equally brilliant sequels: 1999’s Toy Story 2, 2010’s Toy Story 3, and 2019’s Toy Story 4.
As with most of Pixar’s fare, the Toy Story movies are filled with moments that elicit tears from child and adult viewers alike. This quartet of animated masterpieces has some of the saddest scenes in movie history.
10 Buzz Replaces Woody As Andy’s Favorite Toy
At the beginning of the first Toy Story movie, Woody is introduced as Andy’s favorite toy by far. He’s the self-appointed leader of the toys and whatever he says goes. Then, on his birthday, Andy receives a Buzz Lightyear toy.
Buzz quickly becomes Andy’s favorite toy, replacing Woody, and on top of that, all the other toys idolize him, so Woody gets squeezed out as their undisputed leader.
9 Woody Wants To Stay With The Roundup Gang
After Buzz and the gang spend the whole of Toy Story 2 trying to find Woody, they finally manage to break into Al’s apartment via the air vents to liberate Woody and bring him back to Andy’s room.
However, they’re surprised when Woody rejects their rescue mission. He wants to stay with the Woody’s Roundup gang. They end up merging groups after pushing out Stinky Pete, who’s secretly a bad guy.
8 Lotso’s Tragic Backstory
Lotso is introduced as a heartless villain in Toy Story 3 when he imprisons all of Andy’s toys and brainwashes Buzz by using his settings against him.
However, when Woody gets to Bonnie’s house, he learns that Lotso has a tragic backstory – he was his kid’s favorite toy, then turned bitter and evil when he was dumped in a donation bin.
7 Bo Peep’s Sudden Exit
The fact that Bo Peep left the group suddenly was hinted at in Toy Story 3, but nothing concrete was confirmed as the Pixar team was saving her story for a potential fourth movie. Last summer, that fourth movie was released and, in the prologue, Bo Peep is sold off during her attempts to save Molly’s other toys from the same fate.
The abruptness of Bo Peep’s departure made it all the more heartbreaking, as Woody had to come to terms with losing her quickly.
6 Andy Grew Up
The third Toy Story movie hit multiplexes a decade after the second one, so it made sense that the plot took a time jump into the future when the toys are getting old and, more importantly, so is Andy.
Following the opening western homage, Toy Story 3 reveals that Andy is about to go off to college and the toys haven’t been played with in years.
5 Buzz Realizes He’s Just A Toy
When he’s trapped in Sid’s house, Buzz stumbles upon a commercial for himself on TV. He learns that everything Woody said about him being a “child’s plaything” is accurate.
He climbs up onto the bannister and tries to fly, but just crashes to the floor and loses his arm. It’s a poignant metaphor for accepting your limitations.
4 When She Loved Me
There are a few montages in the Toy Story franchise in which a character details how they were abandoned by their previous owner, but Jessie’s is by far the saddest, and it’s all thanks to the song “When She Loved Me,” written by Randy Newman and recorded by Sarah McLachlan.
The trajectory of Jessie’s previous owner going from being a huge fan of cowgirls and horses to moving on to other interests sort of mirrors Andy’s own disillusionment with Woody.
3 The Toys Solemnly Accept Their Fate In The Incinerator
In the climactic sequence of Toy Story 3, the toys are carted off to a garbage dump and accidentally end up in the incinerator, being sent down a waterfall of trash into a red-hot furnace to be burned alive. As Woody frantically tries to figure out a way to get out, the other toys all solemnly accept their fate and take each other’s hands. Woody looks up to see Buzz reaching out to him.
The aliens managed to save the toys at the last second using a giant “claw,” but for a brief moment, Toy Story fans thought they were about to watch their favorite characters die in a fire.
2 Andy Leaves For College
In the final moments of Toy Story 3, before heading off to college, Andy brings his toys over to Bonnie’s house to give them to her. When he leaves, Woody and Buzz sit on the front step of the house and watch on.
It’s impossible not to tear up as Woody and Buzz watch Andy’s car drive off into the distance, ending a significant chapter of their lives as they boldly begin another. “So long, partner.”
1 Woody And Buzz’s Final Farewell
Tom Hanks and Tim Allen reportedly got emotional when they were recording Woody and Buzz’s final farewell at the end of Toy Story 4. While Toy Story 3 was a perfect ending for the saga, Woody’s story wasn’t over yet.
Andy’s departure was just one step toward the next stage of Woody’s life. Leaving the other toys to live an independent life with Bo Peep completed that journey.
NEXT: 5 Reasons Why Toy Story 4 Was A Great Ending (& 5 Why Toy Story 3 Is Still Better)
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