10 Films That Changed Filmmaking

'Toy Story' (1995)
'Toy Story' director John Lasseter is shown with two of his characters from the film, Woody (left) and Buzz Lightyear in 1996. © Eric Robert/Sygma/Corbis


This film represented the dawn of the Pixar revolution. Without it, there would be no "Monsters, Inc.," no "Finding Nemo," and no "Up," not to mention no "Toy Story 2" and "Toy Story 3." When "Toy Story" debuted in 1995, it would have been blasphemous to predict that two later Pixar-animated films -- "Up" and "Toy Story 3"-- would be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards and that "Up" would be selected to open the venerable Cannes Film Festival in 2009. In fact, "Toy Story" probably had a whole lot to do with the notoriously tradition-laden Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences creating a new Oscar award for Best Animated Feature in 2001 [source: Lane].

This little film explored new territory on a lot of fronts. It was the first film created entirely by computer-generated imagery (CGI). CGI is now ubiquitous in the movie industry, for good or ill. It was also one of the rare kids' movies whose witty dialogue appealed to both children and adults. The combination became a roadmap for Pixar, which has brought in more than $6 billion in revenue on "Toy Story" and the 10 films that followed as of 2014 [source: Lane].