ByBrian Primm, writer at
Trying to write things that seem intelligent. Twitter: @brian_primm
Brian Primm

I am a child of the '90s. I am part of the generation that saw the first computer animated movie. Just thinking of that sometimes blows my mind, and makes me feel very old. In 1995, Toy Story became the first ever computer animated feature-length movie. Since 1995, I have waited with anticipation for each sequel and television special. My heart fills with joy every time Tom Hanks says he is going to once again don the cowboy hat, and step into the boots of Woody. I've watched each movie several times over and I place Toy Story 2 in my top 5 all time favorite movies.

The Toy Story franchise has so many layers that it's a joy to watch over and over again. Very few movies can stand the test of time. It's fun watching movies like Back to the Future and looking for the little Easter Eggs that are hidden throughout the series, and Toy Story is no different. Pixar is known for planting Easter Eggs in their movies to reference past and future ones. It's fun being rewarded for knowing movies. It's even more fun when movies pay homage to past movies, and the viewer can recall great moments in cinematic history. I thought that I would look at one of my favorite movie franchises and look for those homages. Here's a list of those moments.

1. 'The Shining'

Toy Story 3 is directed by Lee Unkrich, who is a huge fan of The Shining, so he had to be pleased with this homage. Although the carpet is a different color, it's clearly the same design as the carpet at The Overlook Hotel. This isn't the only Shining reference in the movie, though. When the toys decide to attack Sid in the backyard, you can hear Hannah's doll saying "Redrum" while going towards Sid.

2. 'Alien'

One of the most memorable scenes from Alien is the xenomorph popping out of Kane's chest, and if something is popular in movies, we must exploit it. What better way than to make it into a fun children's game?

3. 'Star Wars: A New Hope'

Once again, Toy Story hits us with two Star Wars references, and it won't be the last of the series. The first reference comes when Buzz is describing Zurg's "ultimate weapon." He says the weapon is "a space station that can destroy a planet." This sounds quite like the Death Star. The second comes when Sid is torturing Woody to get information. Sid utters the line, "Where's the rebel base? Talk!"

4. 'Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark'

Here is the 'Buzz faces the boulder' scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Maybe they should update the stunt show at Disney World and feature this scene from Toy Story and give poor Indiana Jones a break from running from the boulder.

5. 'The Exorcist'

I remember being frightened by this scene where the toys attack Sid. So, in a way, Toy Story may have been frightening kids just like The Exorcist was frightening adults. It makes sense that when toys are stuck in a room all day with nothing to do they might watch a few movies. So, why wouldn't Woody use a trick from one of the scariest movies of all time?

6. 'Back to the Future'

I'm not sure why, but it took me many, many years to pick out a favorite Toy Story character. Nowadays, it's Rex — and how can it not be? Maybe it's the fact that I think Back to the Future is his favorite movie. In fact, he quotes lines spoken by George McFly twice in the movie. "I don't like confrontations," and "I just don't think I could take that kind of rejection," came out of the mouths of two great characters from two fantastic movies. Rex should never have to worry about any kind of rejection.

7. 'Total Recall'

Never open a Space Ranger's helmet in uncharted territory. Their "eyes could have been sucked from their sockets," according to Buzz during his encounter with Woody. Arnold's character suffers similar consequences to this in his nightmares in Total Recall.

8. 'Airplane!'

You can overhear the line "the white zone is for immediate pizza," at Pizza Planet. This is very similar to the line heard in Airplane!, "The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only." Toy Story isn't light on the laughs, so it's not surprising that they would pay homage to one of cinema's most popular comedies.

9. 'And Now For Something Completely Different...'

But Mrs. Nesbit will live forever. Monty Python fans may have picked up that this is a reference to Mr. Nesbit, a character at the beginning of And Now for Something Completely Different.

This comes very close to being my favorite scene in the movie, but that shark had to be wearing Woody's hat and utter the lines, "Look! I'm Woody. Howdy, howdy, howdy."

10. 'The Wizard of Oz'

While running through Sid's house trying to escape. Woody keeps repeating Dorothy's mantra, "There's no place like home. There's no place like home." There's no doubt that The Wizard of Oz and Toy Story were visually groundbreaking films.

11. 'The Lion King'

This one is pretty obvious, but it didn't feel like the list would be complete without it. The Lion King had come out the year before Toy Story, so of course baby Molly would still be wanting to hear 'Hakuna Matata.' I mean, we're all still listening to it over 20 years later!

Bonus (TV Show References)

1. 'Star Trek'

After Buzz calls Woody "a sad, strange, little man." He gives him his pity and a vulcan salute before walking away from him.

2. 'The Simpsons'

Mr. Potato Head's alter ego is "One Eyed" Bart. This could be stretching to say this is a reference to Bart Simpson, but it's right after he's called himself Bart that Andy pops his eye off and gives the famous Homer Simpson, "D'Oh."

3. 'Home Improvement'

Of course we have the Tim Allen connection, but Sid also owns a Binford toolbox. Looks like Sid could have been a fan of the Binford sponsored show, Tool Time.

If I've missed any references, feel free to let me know in the comments section. While you're there, talk about what your favorite movie reference in Toy Story is. Check back with me for the followups to this article, as I will be making a list of references that can be found in Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3. If you're feeling generous, share this with your friends on Facebook and Twitter, and while you're on Twitter, go ahead and give me a follow.


Latest from our Creators