The Lion King is the Walt Disney Company's 32nd animated film. It was released on June 15, 1994.

The movie is about a young lion cub named Simba who learns about his place on the throne of Pride Rock and his role in the circle of life. It was the first full-length Disney film to feature no human characters. Unlike previous Disney animated films, much of the voice acting work was done by well-known actors, including James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Matthew Broderick, Whoopi Goldberg, Rowan Atkinson, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and Nathan Lane. It is a musical; the songs have music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice.

Computer animation was used extensively in the creation of the movie, especially during the "Circle of Life" and stampede sequences.

During production, this film was considered a secondary project compared to the next film scheduled, Pocahontas. However, as the film was being marketed, the studio noticed that the released teaser which consisted of the entire opening sequence featuring the song, Circle of Life, was getting a strongly enthusiastic reaction from audiences. Furthermore, when the film was in limited release in two major theatres, the film did very impressive business which suggested that this "secondary project" promised to be popular. Upon general release, the film more than confirmed that suspicion by becoming the most successful film of the year and the most successful animated feature film of all time.

Table of contents
1 Plot synopsis
2 Key Characters
3 Sequels and spin-offs
4 Controversies surrounding The Lion King

Plot synopsis

Warning: Wikipedia contains spoilers

Simba's father Mufasa, the Lion King, is murdered by his own brother and Simba's uncle, Scar, who then convinces Simba that Mufasa's death was Simba's fault and encourages the young cub into self-imposed exile ("Run away, Simba. Run... Run away and never return.").

After wandering in the desert, the young cub befriends a meerkat named Timon and a warthog named Pumbaa. After growing up with Timon and Pumbaa, Simba's friend Nala eventually finds him. She urges Simba to return to Pride Rock and to retake his rightful throne, but he refuses. After Rafiki the baboon shows Simba that Mufasa's spirit lives inside him Simba goes back to Pride Rock to defeat his uncle Scar and the hyenas so he can reclaim his kingdom.

Key Characters

Sequels and spin-offs

The Lion King was so successful that Disney created a direct-to-video sequel called
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride and a spin-off television series called Timon and Pumbaa. A second direct-to-video sequel, The Lion King 1 1/2, will be released on February 10, 2004.

The movie was remastered and, on October 7, 2003, released as The Lion King 2-Disc Special Edition DVD.


The movie was also adapted into an award-winning stage musical with the same title. The stage show first opened on November 13, 1997 in New York City, New York and was an instant and tremendous success. A version later opened in Toronto and played there until 2003.

Controversies surrounding The Lion King

The movie has had its share of controversy. There was some criticism from the gay community regarding a perceived effeminate undertone to the movie's villain, Scar. In one scene of the movie it appears as if animators had embedded the word "sex" into several frames of animation -- the intention, however, was the letter combination "SFX" (for "special effects"). And there was dispute over the origin of the story, as it bears a striking resemblance to a Japanese animated television show Kimba the White Lion, so much so that apparently even some animators thought they were doing a remake.

Quotations Warning! Spoilers follow

[Simba burps off-screen.]

  • Timon: "Whoa! Nice one, Simba."
  • Simba: "Thanks. Man, I'm stuffed."
  • Pumbaa: "Me too. I ate like a pig!"
  • Simba: "Pumbaa, you are a pig."
  • Pumbaa: "Oh. Right."

  • Timon: "What do you want me to do? Dress in drag and do the hula?"
  • Timon: "Luau! If you're hungry for a hunk of fat and juicy meat, eat my buddy Pumbaa here because he is a treat! Come on down and dine on this tasty swine, all you have to do is get in line! Are ya achin'..."
  • Pumbaa: "Yep, yep, yep!"
  • Timon: "...for some bacon?"
  • Pumbaa: "Yep, yep, yep!"
  • Timon: "He's a big pig!"
  • Pumbaa: "Yep yep!"
  • Timon: "You could be a big pig too! Oy!"
[Timon and Pumbaa scream and run off, chased by the hyenas.]

To find out really why they did the diversion, please see The Lion King 1 1/2.

  • Banzai: "The little majordomo bird hippity-hopped all the way to the birdie boiler."
[He stuffs Zazu in a mini-volcano vent.]
  • Zazu: "Oh no! Not the birdie boiler!"
[Zazu screams as he is launched like a rocket.]

See also: