Pixar Geeks Out…with Style


You don’t need to be a hardcore film buff to realize that Pixar stockpiles their films with references to other films, generally of the sci-fi nature. Here’s a typical example, from Toy Story 2

(Personally, I love the touch of mimicking Luke Skywalker’s fall by having the camera staying static and the elevator descending.)

Today I’d like to examine another one of their film references, one which gets even cooler under scrutiny. It’s from Toy Story and the homage is pretty obvious to even the casual geek. When Woody tries to knock Buzz behind the desk, there’s a wonderful tip of the hat to Raiders of the Lost Ark:

The source:


The reference:

However, in the audio commentary, they reveal that they go deeper than you think. Since the sound FX were done at the Skywalker Ranch (where Raiders was sound edited), the Pixar guys were Geeks with Privileges:

DIRECTOR JOHN LASSETER: When we were designing this scene, we were sitting there watch Raiders of the Lost Ark, and…It’s the actual sound of the big boulder rolling…And even the sound of the pushpins flying down and hitting on the desk around Buzz—those are actually the sound from that sequence, the arrows at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark!

So, yes, the visuals come from the boulder scene in Raiders. That’s hard to miss. But pulling the literal sound FX from Raiders? That’s cool.


In a future post, I’ll breakdown another Pixar film reference, one that’s even geekier, which therefore means, cooler. (Anyone want to guess what it will be?)

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7 Comments

Filed under Film

7 responses to “Pixar Geeks Out…with Style

  1. Jason

    mose- also sounds like you cut buzz’s fall midway through a yakima.

    • Oh, yeah. The Yakima. I’ll prob. do a post about that–or at least steer everyone to that great short NPR doc about it that got some re-play in January.

      Skywalker Ranch uses that scream all the time.

  2. You mean the Wilhelm scream at the end of the clip?

    • Yep, that scream. Jason and I used to use that scream when we sound edited in the late 90s. We didn’t know it was called “The Wilhelm,” and I named it “The Yakima,” after the old Hollywood stuntman Yakima Canutt.

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