Ever since Toy Story introduced audiences to the joys of bickering action figures over 20 years ago, Pixar has continually set the standard for how to do animated characters right: give them humanity, a sense of humor, and a lot of heart; get some top-notch talent to voice them; and provide them with a story that taps into the ties that bind all of us, from the joys and fears of childhood to finding your bliss. We take it for granted now that, in the era of Woody, Remy and WALL E, animated features have to bring the complexity to the multiplex.
Here, we rank our top 25 favorite Pixar heroes, villains, and sidekicks. From plucky trash-collecting robots to anthropomorphic emotions, go-getter cowgirls to culinary rodents, Buzz Lightyear to Bing Bong — these are the characters, creatures and classic cartoon creations that keep us coming back to the company’s movies time after time. To infinity, and beyond!
[Editor’s Note: A version of this list was originally published June 2016]