The Lion King

1994 American animated film

The Lion King is an animated movie made by Walt Disney in 1994. It was the most successful animated movie of the 1990s. The movie is about a young lion prince who learns about his role as prince and in the circle of life. It is dedicated to Frank Wells, who was the president of The Walt Disney Company and died shortly before the movie was released into theaters on June 15, 1994. It was the first full-length Disney movie to feature no human characters since Bambi. Much of the voice acting work was done by well-known actors, including Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, Rowan Atkinson, and Jonathan Taylor Thomas. The Lion King is a musical; the songs have music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice. Computer animation was used a lot when making the movie, like during the song "Circle of Life" and others. When they were making it, this movie was thought of as just "alright" compared to the movie they were going to make after that, which would be Pocahontas. The studio released the trailer, and found that many people liked it, especially the song "Circle of Life". When it was released, the movie became the most successful movie worldwide (in the United States, Forrest Gump was most successful of that year) and the most successful animated feature movie of all time until Finding Nemo. Since then, Shrek 2 has become more successful than Finding Nemo, making The Lion King the third most successful.

The Lion King
The Lion King logo.svg
Directed by
Produced byDon Hahn
Written by
Story by
Music byHans Zimmer
Edited byIvan Bilancio
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • June 15, 1994 (1994-06-15)
Running time
88 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$45 million[2]
Box office$1.084 billion[2]

The movie was also made into an award-winning stage musical. The stage show first opened on November 13, 1997 in New York City, and it was a big success. A version opened later in London, England. Many other shows of The Lion King have been shown across the world, and is one of the United Kingdom's biggest and most popular shows. It is supposed to be set in Kenya.

In 2019, a computer animated remake was released.


In the fictional opening scene, lots of animals and birds gather at Pride Rock to see Simba, the new prince who has just been born. Simba is the son of Mufasa and Sarabi. Rafiki picks up Simba and lifts him high up so that all of the animals can see. The animals celebrate and rejoice. But Scar, Mufasa's brother, is jealous because Simba will be king instead of him.

Scar lies to Simba about a dangerous place called the Elephant Graveyard. Scar says that only brave lions go there, causing Simba to be interested, even though Mufasa has forbidden Simba from going there. Simba lies to his mother, Sarabi, about going to the Water Hole when he is actually going to the Elephant Graveyard. Simba's best friend Nala and Zazu, the king's messenger, go with Simba. Simba and Nala trick Zazu with the song "I Just Can't Wait to be King" and run away from him. Simba and Nala find the Elephant Graveyard but are chased by the three hyenas Shenzi, Banzai and Ed. Mufasa saves his son and Nala and takes them both home. Mufasa speaks to Simba alone and explains to Simba that being brave is not about looking for danger. He also explains that the great kings of the past look down from the stars and watch over Simba. Scar, in the Elephant Graveyard, is angry with the hyenas because they did not kill Simba. It is revealed that the hyenas are working for Scar during Scar's song "Be Prepared".

The next day Scar takes Simba into a gorge (long, deep hole in the ground - also known as a "valley") where he explains that Mufasa has a wonderful surprise waiting. Scar has actually planned a wildebeest stampede with the hyenas. Simba is trapped in the gorge as the wildebeest run towards him. Scar tells Mufasa that Simba is in trouble and Mufasa rescues his son. Scar then throws Mufasa into the stampede and Mufasa dies. Scar blames Simba for the death of Mufasa and Simba runs away. Scar becomes king and tells everyone that Simba and Mufasa are dead. Simba runs to a desert and collapses. He is rescued by Timon the meerkat and Pumbaa the warthog. Timon and Pumbaa live in the jungle and are very relaxed, which they show in their song "Hakuna Matata". Timon and Pumbaa look after Simba until Simba is an adult lion.

One day a lioness (female lion) comes to the jungle and tries to kill and eat Pumbaa. Simba fights the lioness because he wants to save Pumbaa's life. While the two lions are fighting Simba finds out that the lioness is his friend Nala. They are very happy to see each other and they fall in love. Nala wants Simba to go home and fight Scar because Scar is a bad king. Simba will not go home because he thinks that he killed Mufasa and he does not want his family to know. Rafiki comes to the jungle and takes Simba to a field. In the sky above the field Mufasa's ghost appears and tells Simba that he must go home because Simba is the right king. After this Simba goes home to Pride Rock. Nala, Timon and Pumbaa follow him. When they get to Pride Rock they find that the land is dry and the animals have gone.

At Pride Rock, Simba sees Scar hitting Sarabi. This makes Simba's love for Scar turn to pure hatred and he tries to make Scar step down. Scar does not and makes Simba fall over the edge of Pride Rock. Simba does not fall and holds on to the edge. Scar thinks that he was won so he tells Simba the truth about the death of Mufasa - that Scar actually killed Mufasa. Simba is upset and a big fight happens. The lionesses fight the hyenas and Simba fights Scar. While the fighting is going on lightning hits a dead tree and starts a fire. Simba and Scar battle on top of Pride Rock. Scar does not want to die and lies to Simba that the hyenas are to blame for everything. Another fight happens and Simba throws Scar over the edge. Scar does not die after the fall, but the hyenas attack and kill him the hyenas are angry that Scar blamed them. Rain falls and puts out the fire. Simba walks to the top of Pride Rock and roars. Much later the animals come back. At the end of the movie, Rafiki picks up Kiara, Simba's daughter and Mufasa's granddaughter, and lifts her up high above Pride Rock so the animals below can see.


  • Simba - Mufasa's son, Scar's nephew, Nala's eventual husband, and the future king of the Pridelands.
  • Nala - Simba's eventual wife and the future queen of the Pridelands.
  • Timon and Pumbaa - A meerkat and a warthog who adopt Simba as a cub.
  • Mufasa - King of the Pridelands at the start of the film, Simba's father, Sarabi's husband, and Scar's older brother.
  • Scar - Simba's arch-nemesis and paternal uncle, Mufasa's arch-rival and younger brother, and Sarabi's brother-in-law.
  • Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed - Three hyenas who are Scar's henchmen.
  • Rafiki - A mandrill shaman.
  • Zazu - A hornbill who serves as adviser to The Lion King.
  • Sarabi - Simba's mother, Mufasa's wife, and Scar's sister-in-law.
  • Sarafina - Nala's mother.
  • Kiara - Simba's newborn daughter, Mufasa's granddaughter, and Scar's great niece, who appears at the end of the film.


Actor Role(s)
Matthew Broderick Simba
Moira Kelly Nala
Nathan Lane Timon
Ernie Sabella Pumbaa
James Earl Jones Mufasa
Jeremy Irons Scar
Whoopi Goldberg Shenzi
Cheech Marin Banzai
Jim Cummings Ed
Robert Guillaume Rafiki
Rowan Atkinson Zazu
Madge Sinclair Sarabi
Zoe Leader Sarafina
Jonathan Taylor Thomas Young Simba
Niketa Calame Young Nala

Singing voices

Singer Role
Joseph Williams Simba
Sally Dworsky Nala
Jeff Bennett Zazu (The Morning Report)
Jim Cummings Scar (last part of Be Prepared)
Jason Weaver
Evan Saucedo (The Morning Report)
Young Simba
Laura Williams Young Nala

Supervising animatorsEdit

Animator Character(s)
Ruben A. Aquino Simba
Tony Fucile Mufasa
Andreas Deja Scar
Mark Henn Young Simba
Michael Surrey Timon
Tony Bancroft Pumbaa
James Baxter Rafiki
Anthony DeRosa Nala
Ellen Woodbury Zazu
David Burgess
Alex Kupershmidt
Russ Edmonds Sarabi
Aaron Blaise Young Nala


Crew Position
Directed by Roger Allers
Rob Minkoff
Produced by Don Hahn
Written by Irene Mecchi
Jonathan Roberts
Linda Woolverton
Executive Producers Thomas Schumacher
Sarah McArthur
Songs by Sir Tim Rice
Sir Elton John
Original Score by Hans Zimmer
John Powell
Associate Producer Alcie Dewey
Art Director Andy Gaskill
Production Designer Christopher Sanders
movie Editors John Carnochan
Tom Finan
Artistic Supervisors Brenda Chapman (Story supervisor)
Dan St. Pierre (Layout supervisor)
Doug Ball (Background supervisor)
Vera Lanpher (Clean-up supervisors)
Scott Santoro (Effects supervisor)
Scott F. Johnston (Computer Graphics supervisor)
Artistic Coordinator Randy Fullmer
Supervising Animators Mark Henn (Young Simba)
Ruben A. Aquino (Adult Simba)
Andreas Deja (Scar)
Tony Fucile (Mufasa)
Tony Bancroft (Pumbaa)
Michael Surrey (Timon)
Aaron Blaise (Young Nala)
Anthony de Rosa (Adult Nala)
Ellen Woodbury (Zazu)
Russ Edmonds (Sarabi)
James Baxter (Rafiki)
David Burgess & Alex Kuperschmidt (Banzai/Shenzi/Ed)
Production Manager Dana Axelrod

Box office performanceEdit

Source Gross (USD) % Total All Time Rank
Domestic $328,541,776 ($312,855,561 initially) 41.9% 16
Foreign $455,300,000 58.1% N/A
Worldwide $783,841,776[4] 100.0% 19
Domestic Opening Weekend $40,888,194 13.1% 99
Domestic Adjusted (2007) $508,185,200 N/A 24

Awards and nominationsEdit

The Lion King received many award nominations, including the Academy Award for Best Original Score (by Hans Zimmer) and the Golden Globe award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, both of which it won. The song "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" by Elton John and Tim Rice won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, the Golden Globe for Best Original Song, the BMI Film Music Award, and the Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance Male.

These are the awards:

Sequels and spin-offsEdit

The Lion King was so successful that Disney created a sequel called The Lion King II: Simba's Pride and a television series called The Lion King's Timon and Pumbaa. A second sequel, The Lion King 1½, was released on February 10, 2004. A preschool series called The Lion Guard is currently airing on Disney Junior.

The Lion King had a special edition that was released in IMAX cinemas.



In one scene of the movie it looks as if animators had written the word "sex" into some of the frames of animation. However, they wanted to show the letters "SFX" (meaning "special effects"). In The Lion King DVD the word has been taken out.

Kimba the White LionEdit

Kimba the White Lion is an animated TV show from the 1960s. It was made in Japan by Osamu Tezuka. Some characters and parts of the story in The Lion King are similar to Kimba the White Lion but Disney has said that it was not done on purpose.[14]

"The Lion Sleeps Tonight"Edit

In one scene with Timon and Pumbaa they both sing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". This has caused disputes between Disney and the family of South African Solomon Linda, who composed the song (originally titled "Mbube") in 1939. In July 2004, the family went to court, seeking $1.6 million in royalties from Disney. In February 2006, Linda's heirs (family) reached a legal settlement with Abilene Music, who held the worldwide rights and had licensed the song to Disney for an undisclosed amount of money.[15]

Hidden racismEdit

Upon its release, some critics complained that the hyenas in the movie were negative (bad) racial stereotypes of African-American people and Hispanic people.[16] It has been said that "despicable hyena storm troopers racially coded accents that take on the nuances of the discourse of a decidedly urban, black, and Latino youth." [17]

Hamas' propagandaEdit

In August 2007, the Hamas terrorist group produced an animated propaganda (information) movie that made fun of the style of The Lion King. The programme was shown on their television station, Al-Aqsa TV. Hamas was shown as a lion that chased and killed rats that looked like members of the secular (separate from religion) Fatah group in Gaza. The programme was shown for a short time but was taken off the air for changes.[18][19]


  • "Circle of Life"
  • "I Just Can't Wait to Be King"
  • "Be Prepared"
  • "Hakuna Matata"
  • "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?"
  • "The Bait Song" (Timon & Pumbaa's Hula)

Titles in other languagesEdit


  1. "The Lion King (U)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "The Lion King". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
  3. Grant, John. Encyclopedia of Walt Disney's Animated Characters - Encyclopedia, 3rd edition hardcover. New York City: Hyperion Books, 1998. ISBN 0-7868-6336-6
  4. "All-Time Worldwide Box Office". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 17 September 2006.
  5. "Academy Awards, USA: 1995". Internet Movie Database. Archived from the original on 2008-12-19. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  6. "SEARCH - Lion King, The". Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Archived from the original on 2012-03-03. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  7. "Legacy: 22nd Annual Annie Award Nominees and Winners (1994)". Annie Awards. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  8. "Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA: 1995". Internet Movie Database. Archived from the original on 2008-04-23. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  9. "BAFTA Awards: 1995". Internet Movie Database. Archived from the original on 2008-05-12. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  10. "BMI Film & TV Awards: 1995". Internet Movie Database. Archived from the original on 2007-01-20. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  11. "Grammy Awards: 1995". Internet Movie Database. Archived from the original on 2006-10-24. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  12. "MTV Movie Awards: 1995". Internet Movie Database. Archived from the original on 2008-03-24. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  13. "Kids' Choice Awards, USA: 1995". Internet Movie Database. Archived from the original on 2007-01-11. Retrieved 2007-08-05.
  14. Hong, Peter (2002-05-19). "The Lion King/Kimba controversy". Los Angeles Times. pp. L4. Archived from the original on 2011-06-04. Retrieved 2009-11-14. {{cite news}}: Check date values in: |date= (help)
  15. "Disney settles Lion song. dispute". BBC news. Retrieved 31 August 2006.[permanent dead link]
  16. Staff (24 February 2006). "Film Comment Selects 2006".
  17. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-10-02. Retrieved 2008-11-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. Nidal al-Mughrabi (September 4, 2007). "Hamas "Lion King" cartoon re-enacts Gaza takeover". Reuters. Retrieved 2007-11-14.
  19. "Hamas battle cartoon mimics "Lion King"". International Herald Tribune. 2007-08-24. Retrieved 2007-12-24.

Other websitesEdit