The Lion King
Lion king poster 1
Directed by: Roger Allers
Rob Minkoff
Produced by: Don Hahn
Written by: Irene Mecchi
Jonathan Roberts
Linda Woolverton
Starring: (see below)
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Editing by: Ivan Bilancio
Studio: Walt Disney Feature Animation"|Walt Disney Pictures
Distributed by: Buena Vista Pictures
Release date: June 24,1994
Running time: 89 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: 45 million
Box office: 968,771,75

The Lion King is a 1994 American animated film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 32nd feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. The story takes place in a kingdom of anthropomorphic lions in Africa, and was influenced by the Bible tales of Joseph and Moses, the Epic of Sundiata, and the William Shakespeare play Hamlet. The film was produced during a period known as the Disney Renaissance.

The Lion King was released on June 15, 1994 to a positive reaction from critics, who praised the film for its music and story. The film is the highest-grossing hand-drawn film in history, the highest-grossing 2D animated film in the United States, and the 20th-highest-grossing feature film. The Lion King garnered two Academy Awards for its achievement in music and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Its songs were written by composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, with an original score by Hans Zimmer. It has earned over $902 million worldwide as of 2011. A Broadway adaptation of the film opened in 1997, and won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Disney produced two direct-to-video films – a sequel The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998) and a prequel/parallel The Lion King 1½ (2004). The film was re-released worldwide in 3D on September 16, 2011 to further box office success.


Spoiler Warning: All the information listed below contains spoilers so be warned!

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Simba, the movie's protagonist.

The film start out with the animals of the Pridelands attending the presentation of King Mufasa's newborn son, Simba. Scar, Mufasa's brother is dissapointed in the birth as Scar will never be king. The next morning, Simba wakes his father who promised to show him the Pridelands from the top of Pride Rock. Zazu arrives to give the king "The Morning Report." The king decides to use Zazu as Simba's punching target, which results in Simba successfully pinning down Zazu. The hornbill tells the king that their are hyenas in the Pride Lands, which leads to Mufasa ending the lesson. Back at Pride Rock, Simba tells Scar about his day with his father. Scar mentions about a shadowy place outside the lands, revealing to Simba that the place is an elephant graveyard. Simba becomes curious and decides to check it out with his best friend Nala. They are accompanied by Zazu to keep watch after them, but they end up losing him by crushing him with a pile of animals. Upon arrival, Simba attempts to check out a large elephant skull, but is stopped by Zazu. Three hyenas surround them and give chase after the cubs and the hornbill slip away. The hyenas continue to chase the cubs to a dead end, but are stopped in time by Mufasa, who pins them to the ground and threatens to kill them if they come near his son again.

While heading back to Pride Rock, Mufasa asks Zazu to take Nala home while he teaches Simba a lesson. Mufasa is upset with Simba for disobeying him. Simba says that he was just trying to be brave like his father, which Mufasa replies that he's only brave when he has to be, which means not going out and looking for trouble. He teaches Simba about the great kings of the past that will be there to guide him.

Meanwhile, Scar is dissapointed in the hyenas not not killing the cubs. In the meantime, Scar plans a new plot to kill both Simba and his brother while singing the song "Be Prepared." The next day, Scar takes Simba to a large gorge and tells him to wait on a rock as his father has a surprise for him. He also mocks Simba of his little roar and mentions for him to practice it while waiting for his father. Simba lets out a loud roar to a lizard and successfully scares it. He then notices wildebeasts running down the gorge towards him and begins to run. Scar informs Mufasa of the stampede and mentions that Simba is down there. Mufasa sees Simba hanging on a bran
Scar ans simba 1

Scar about to throw Mufasa back into the stampede.

ch of a tree and jumps into the stampede to save him. He saves him but gets dragged back into the stampede by the wildebeest. Mufasa jumps out of the stampede and hangs on the side of a cliff for dear life. He asks Scar for his help, but Scar just mocks him before throwing the king back into the stampede to be crushed to death.

Simba heads down towards his father's body and tries to revive him. Unsuccessful, he calls for help befor crawling under his father's paw. Scar comes in and accuses Simba for Mufasa's death, making him feel guilty. Simba asks his uncle what to do, but Scar tells him to run away and never return before sending the hyenas out to kill him once more. They fail but tell Scar that he's dead so Scar can take the throne and allow the hyenas to invade the Pride Lands.

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A shot of the scene Hakuna Matata.

Meanwhile, Simba wonders in a desert where he close to death. A meerkat and a warthog named Timon and Pumbaa find Simba and save the cub. They allow the cub to live with them and teach them their motto "Hakuna Matata (meaning "no worries.") Years later, Simba saves Pumbaa from a hungry lioness, who is identified as Nala. Simba and Nala spend a lot of time together which turns into a romantic relationship. Simba becomes agered with her when she asks him about not returning to Pride Rock and not accepting that he's the king. The mandrill Rafiki finds Simba and shows him his father's spirt, who begins to accuse Simba of forgeting him. After Mufasa's spirit dissappears into the clouds, Rafiki teachs Simba that he must learn from his past and not run from it. Inspired, Simba returns to the Pride Lands, with Nala, Timon, and Pumbaa by his side. Upon arrival, Simba see that the lands are barren and dry. While approaching Pride Rock, Simba asks Timon and Pumba to create a distraction whil Nala rallies the lionesses and Simba looks for Scar.

From a rock, Simba notices Scar striking his mother Sarabi, which angers him and confronts Scar face-to-face. After Simba reveals that he was responsible for Mufasa's death, Scar calls him a "murderer" and backs Simba off a ledge to be executed. Scar grabs Simba's paws and tells the young lion that he's responsible for Mufasa's death, which angers Simba more. He then jumps up from the ledge and pins Scar down to make him tell the truth out loud. He does which leads to a battle between the hyenas and lionesses. Nala, Timon, Pumbaa, and the other lionesses chase away the hyenas while Simba faces Scar from the top of Pride Rock. He spare's Scar's life by letting him go and telling him to never return to the Pride Lands. Before leaving, Scar throws hot embers in Simba's face and a battle erupts between the two. Simba manages to defeat him by tossing Scar over the edge. Scar gets eaten by the hyenas for telling Simba that it was their idea to kill Mufasa.

After Simba makes his mighty roar, him, Nala, Timon, and Pumbaa watch proudly as Rafiki shows there newborn cub to the other animals below to see.


  • Matthew Broderick as Prince Simba - Mufasa and Sarabi's son, Scar's nephew, Nala's mate and the current King of the Pride Lands. Joseph Williams provides Simba's singing voice. Jonathan Taylor Thomas plays the younger Simba, with Jason Weaver providing his singing voice.
  • James Earl Jones as King Mufasa - Scar's older brother, Sarabi's husband, Simba's father, Nala's father-in-law.
  • Jeremy Irons as Scar - Mufasa's younger brother, Sarabi's brother-in-law and Simba's uncle.
  • Moira Kelly as Nala - Sarafina's daughter, Simba's best friend and wife, Mufasa and Sarabi's daughter-in-law and the current Queen of the Pride Lands. Sally Dworsky provides Nala's singing voice. Niketa Calame plays the younger Nala, with Laura Williams providing her singing voice.
  • Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa - Simba and Timon's warthog friend.
  • Nathan Lane as Timon - Simba and Pumbaa's meerkat friend.
  • Robert Guillaume as Rafiki - a wise old mandrill who serves as shaman of the Pride Lands and presents newborn cubs of The Lion King and Queen to the animals of the Pride Lands.
  • Rowan Atkinson as Zazu - A Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill who serves as The Lion King's adviser.
  • Madge Sinclair as Sarabi - Mufasa's wife, Scar's sister-in-law, Simba's mother and was Queen of the Pride Land until Scar took over.
  • Whoopi Goldberg as Shenzi - The only female and leader of the hyena trio who serve Scar.
  • Cheech Marin as Banzai - One of the two male members of the hyena trio who serve Scar.
  • Jim Cummings as Ed - One of the two male members of the hyena trio who serve Scar and the only one of the trio who laughs instead of talking.


Story DevelopmentEdit

The development of the story began in 1988. Jeffery Katzenberg, Roy E. Disney, and Peter Schneider were on a plane to Europe when they came up with an idea to have the film be set in some place in Africa. Katzenberg also decided to add elements involving death and age. In November of that same year, Thomas Disch (author of The Brave Little Toaster) wrote a treatment that was titled King of the Kalahari. The following year, Linda Woolverton wrote the first draft of the script, which was titled King of the Jungle, and drew much inspiration from Shakespeare's play, Hamlet.

The original version of the film was very different than the final version. The plot of the story was centered in a battle between lions and baboons with Scar being the leader of the baboons, Rafiki then being a cheetah, and Timon and Pumbaa being Simba's childhood friends. Simba would not also leave the kingdom, but became a "lazy, slovenly, horrible character" due to manipulations from Scar, so he could overthrow Simba after coming of age.

Oliver and Company director George Scribner was the initial director of the film, being later joined by Roger Allers, who was the lead story man on Beauty and the Beast in October 1991. Allers brought with him Brenda Chapman, who would become the head of story. After six months of story development work Scribner decided to leave the project, as he clashed with Allers with his intention of making a documentary-like film more focused on natural aspects, and also disagreed on turning the film into a musical. Rob Minkoff replaced Scribner, and producer Don Hahn joined the production. Hahn found the script unfocused and lacking a clear theme, and after establishin the main theme as "leaving childhood and facing up to the realities of the world", asked for a final retool. Allers, Minkoff, Chapman and Hahn then rewrote the story across two days' worth of meetings with directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale, who had just finished Beauty and the Beast. The script also had its title changed from "King of the Jungle" to "The Lion King", as the setting was not the jungle but the savannah.

During the summer of 1992, the team was joined by screenwriter Irene Mecchi, with a second screenwriter, Jonathan Roberts, joining a few months later. Mecchi and Roberts took charge of the revision process, fixing unresolved emotional issues in the script and adding comic business for Pumbaa, Timon and the hyenas. Lyricist Tim Rice worked closely with the writing team, as his songs needed to work in the narrative continuity, and the lyrics were even pinned to the storyboards during development.


  • "Circle of Life": Sung by an off-screen character by Carmen Twillie, with African-vocals by Lebo M and his African choir.
  • "I Just Can't Wait to Be King": Sung by Jason Weaver as Young Simba, Laura Williams as Young Nala, and Rowan Atkinson as Zazu.
  • "Be Prepared": Originally sung by Jeremy Irons as Scar. Irons damaged his vocal cords while screaming the line, "You won't get a sniff without me!" Jim Cummings was brought in to finish the song. It is also sung by Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed.
  • "Hakuna Matata": Sung by Young and Adult Simba, Timon and Pumbaa.
  • "Can You Feel the Love Tonight": Sung by off-screen character voiced by Kristle Edwards. It is also sung by Adult Simba, Adult Nala, Timon and Pumbaa.
  • "The Morning Report": A song that isn't featured in the film. In the original film cast, the spot where the song would have been would be where Mufasa is teaching young Simba how to pounce. The song is sung by Young Simba, and Zazu.
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