The Lion King

1994 American animated film

The Lion King is an animated movie made by 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. Wells was the president of The Walt Disney Company. He died shortly before the movie was released into theaters. The movie was the first full-length Disney movie with no human characters since Bambi. Most of the voice acting was done by well-known actors. This includes 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 music for the songs was written by Elton John. The lyrics were written by Tim Rice. Computer animation was used a lot to make the movie. When the movie was released, it was the most successful movie worldwide. It was behind Forrest Gump as most successful in the United States that year. The movie was the most successful animated feature movie of all time until Finding Nemo. As of February 2022, the movie has earned with over 1 billion dollars worldwide.[2]

The Lion King
Directed by
Written by
Story by
Based onthe story of destiny Hell's Gate, Naivasha, Kenya
Produced byDon Hahn
Edited byIvan Bilancio
Music byHans Zimmer
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$1.063 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. It has been a big success. A version opened later in London, England. It is one of the United Kingdom's biggest and most popular shows. Many other shows of The Lion King have been shown across the world.

In 2019, a computer animated remake was released.


In the opening scene, many animals and birds gather to see Simba, who had just been born. Simba is the son of Mufasa and Sarabi. Rafiki picks up Simba. He lifts Simba so that all of the animals can see him. The animals celebrate and rejoice. Scar, Mufasa's brother, is jealous. Simba will be king instead of him.

Scar lies to Simba about a called the Elephant Graveyard. Scar says that only brave lions go there. This makes Simba interested but Mufasa has has told Simba that he is not allowed to go there. Simba tells his mother that he is going to the Water Hole when he is actually going to the Elephant Graveyard. Simba's best friend Nala and Zazu go with Simba. Simba and Nala run away from Zazu. Simba and Nala find the Elephant Graveyard. They are chased by the three Hyaenas Shenzi, Banzai and Ed. Mufasa saves Simba and Nala and takes them both home. Mufasa talks to Simba alone. He explains to Simba that being brave is not about looking for danger. He also says that the great kings of the past look down from the stars and watch over him. Scar is angry with the hyenas because they did not kill Simba. It is shown that the hyenas are working for Scar.

The next. day Scar takes Simba into a gorge. He tells him that Mufasa has a wonderful surprise waiting. Scar has actually planned a wildebeest stampede. Simba is trapped in the gorge as the wildebeest run towards him. Scar tells Mufasa that Simba is in trouble. 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. Timon and Pumbaa look after Simba until Simba is an adult lion.

One day a 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 other lion 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 does not want go home because he thinks that he killed Mufasa. He does not want his family to know this. 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 true king. After this Simba goes home. Nala, Timon and Pumbaa follow him. When they get there, they see that the land is dry and the animals have gone.

Simba sees Scar hitting Sarabi. This makes Simba's love for Scar turn to hatred. 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. He tells Simba the truth about the death of Mufasa. Scar tells Simba that he actually killed Mufasa. Simba is upset and a big fight happens. The female lions fight the hyenas and Simba fights Scar. Scar does not want to die. He lies to Simba that the hyenas are to blame for everything. Simba throws Scar over the edge. Scar does not die after the fall. The hyenas attack and kill. They are angry that Scar blamed them. At the end of the movie, Rafiki picks up Kiara, Simba's daughter and Mufasa's granddaughter, and lifts her up so the animals below can see.


  • Simba - Mufasa's son, Scar's nephew, Nala's eventual husband, and the future king.
  • Nala - Simba's eventual wife and the future queen.
  • Timon and Pumbaa - A meerkat and a warthog who adopt Simba as a cub.
  • Mufasa - King at the start of the movie, Simba's father and Scar's older brother.
  • Scar - Simba's arch-nemesis and uncle and Mufasa's younger brother.
  • 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.


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
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

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. These include the Academy Award for Best Original Score (by Hans Zimmer) and the Golden Globe award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. It won both. 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.

Other awards include:

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 television program 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 problems 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 family reached a legal settlement with Abilene Music, who held the worldwide rights and had let Disney us the song.[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]

Hamas' propagandaEdit

In August 2007, the Hamas terrorist group made an animated propaganda 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 Fatah group in Gaza. The programme was shown for a short time but was taken off the air for changes.[17][18]


  • "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)


  1. "The Lion King (U)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "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.
  15. "Disney settles Lion song. dispute". BBC news. Retrieved 31 August 2006.[permanent dead link]
  16. Staff (24 February 2006). "Film Comment Selects 2006". Slant Magazine.
  17. Nidal al-Mughrabi (September 4, 2007). "Hamas "Lion King" cartoon re-enacts Gaza takeover". Reuters. Retrieved 2007-11-14.
  18. "Hamas battle cartoon mimics "Lion King"". International Herald Tribune. 2007-08-24. Retrieved 2007-12-24.

Other websitesEdit