The Lion KIng is a 1994 American animated epic musical film, produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 32nd Disney animated feature film. The story takes place in a kingdom of lions in Africa and was influenced by William Shakespeare's Hamlet. The film was produced during a period known as the Disney Renaissance. The Lion King was directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, produced by Don Hahn, and has a screenplay credited to Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts and Linda Woolverton. Its original songs were written by composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, and original scores were written by Hans Zimmer. The film features an ensemble voice cast that includes Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Moira Kelly, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Rowan Atkinson, Robert Guillaume, Madge Sinclair, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings.
The Lion King tells the story of Simba, a young lion who is to succeed his father, Mufasa, as King of the Pride Lands; however, after Simba's uncle Scar murders Mufasa, Simba is manipulated into thinking he was responsible, and flees into exile. Upon maturation living with two wastrels, Simba is given some valuable perspective from his childhood friend, Nala, and his shaman, Rafiki, before returning to challenge Scar to end his tyranny and take his place in the Circle of Life as the rightful King.
Development of The Lion King began in 1988 during a meeting between Jeffrey Katzenberg, Roy E. Disney and Peter Schneider while promoting Oliver & Company in Europe. Thomas Disch wrote a film treatment, and Woolverton developed the first scripts while George Scribner was signed on as director, being later joined by Allers. Production began in 1991 concurrently with Pocahontas, which wound up attracting most of Disney's top animators. Some time after the staff traveled to Hell's Gate National Park in Kenya to research on the film's setting and animals, Scribner left production disagreeing with the decision to turn the film into a musical, and was replaced by Minkoff. When Hahn joined the project, he was dissatisfied with the script and the story was promptly rewritten. Nearly 20 minutes of animation sequences were produced at Disney-MGM Studios in Florida. Computer animation was also used in several scenes, most notably in the wildebeest stampede sequence.
The Lion King was released in theatres June 15, 1994, to a positive reaction from critics, who praised the film for its music, story and animation; it finished its theatrical run as the highest-grossing release of 1994 and the second highest-grossing film of all time. The Lion King garnered two Academy Awards for its achievement in music and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. The film has led to many derived works, such as a Broadway adaptation; three direct-to-video follow-ups — the sequel, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride in 1998, and the prequel/parallel, The Lion King 1½ in 2004 -; a prequel called The Lion King Guard: Return of The Roar in 2015, two television series, Timon and Pumbaa and The Lion Guard; and a 3D re-release, in 2011.
In 2016, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
This Disney animated feature follows the adventures of the young lion Simba (Zoe Leader), the heir of his father, Mufasa (Ernie Sabella). Simba's wicked uncle, Scar (Rowan Atkinson), plots to usurp Mufasa's throne by luring father and son into a stampede of wildebeests. But Simba escapes, and only Mufasa is killed. Simba returns as an adult (Jeremy Irons) to take back his homeland from Scar with the help of his friends Timon (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) and Pumbaa (Cheech Marin).
The story of The Lion King takes place in an African kingdom called the Pride Lands, where a lion rules over the other animals as king.
At the beginning of the film, Rafiki (Robert Guillaume), a mandrill shaman, anoints Simba, the newborn cub of King Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and Queen Sarabi (Madge Sinclair), and presents him to a gathering of animals at Pride Rock ("The Circle of Life"). Meanwhile, Mufasa's younger brother, Scar (Jeremy Irons), decided not to be at the ceremony, annoyed that he is no longer the heir to the throne. Wanting the title to be his, he plots to kill Simba.
Months later, Mufasa takes Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) around the Pride Lands, teaching him about the "Circle of Life", the delicate balance affecting all living things. Later, Scar tells Simba about the elephant graveyard, a place where Mufasa has warned him not to go. Simba asks his mother if he can go to the water-hole with his best friend, Nala (Niketa Calame). Sarabi and Nala's mother Sarafina (Zoe Leader) agree, but only if Mufasa's majordomo, the hornbill Zazu (Rowan Atkinson), goes with them. Simba and Nala elude Zazu's supervision ("I Just Can't Wait to Be King") and go to the graveyard instead. There, the cubs are chased by Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed (Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Martin, and Jim Cummings), Scar's spotted hyena henchmen who try to kill them but are rescued by Mufasa, who was summoned by Zazu. After sending Nala and Zazu ahead back to Pride Rock, Mufasa scolds Simba for putting himself and Nala in danger, before teaching him about the Great Kings of the Past, who look down on the living from the stars.
Later that night, Scar gains the loyalty of the hyenas by claiming that if he becomes king, they will "never go hungry again." Plotting further, Scar gathers more hyenas ("Be Prepared") forming an army. Some time later, Scar lures Simba into a gorge for a "surprise from his father" then signals the hyenas create a wildebeest stampede down into the gorge where Simba is. Alerted by an insincerely dramatic Scar, Mufasa races to rescue Simba from the stampede. He saves his son, but is left clinging to the edge of a cliff, which results in Scar flinging him into the stampede below to his death. Scar convinces Simba that he was responsible for his own father's death, and recommends that he flees the Pride Lands, never to return. To compound this, Scar once again sends the hyenas to kill Simba, but as Simba reaches a thorny embankment, they let him escape, hurling threats that he will be killed if ever seen again. That night back at Pride Rock, Scar informs the pride that both Mufasa and Simba were killed in the stampede, and that he is assuming the throne as the closest of king. After becoming king, Scar fulfills his promise to the hyenas and allows them to come into The Pride Lands. He then informs the pride that they will be hunting to feed both them and the hyenas.
Simba collapses in a distant desert where he is found unconscious by Timon and Pumbaa (Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella), a meerkat-warthog duo who raise Simba under their carefree "Hakuna Matata" lifestyle ("Hakuna Matata"). When Simba has grown into a young adult (Matthew Broderick) he saves them from a hungry lioness who is revealed to be Nala (Moira Kelly). Simba shows Nala around his home and the two begin to fall in love ("Can You Feel the Love Tonight"). Nala then tells him that Scar's tyrannical reign has turned the Pride Lands into a barren wasteland; she demands that Simba must return and take his rightful place as king, but Simba refuses, still guilty about supposedly causing his father's death. Rafiki arrives and persuades Simba to return to the Pride Lands, aided by Mufasa's presence in the stars. After some advice from Rafiki and the ghost of his father, Simba, followed by Nala, Timon, and Pumbaa, returns home.
Once back at Pride Rock, Simba (with Timon, Pumbaa, and Nala) is horrified to see the condition of the Pride Lands. What was once a lush paradise was now a dead wasteland. With the lions overhunting, their prey eventually left the Pride Lands, causing famine in the pride. After seeing Scar strike his mother, Simba announces his return. In response, Simba confronts Scar, who forces Simba to confess to being responsible for Mufasa's death. Scar then forces Simba over the edge of Pride Rock, just as a lightning bolt starts a fire below. As Simba dangles over the edge of Pride Rock, Scar whispers to Simba that he killed Mufasa. Enraged, Simba leaps up and pins Scar to the ground, forcing him to admit the truth to the pride. A raging battle then ensues between the hyenas and the lionesses, Timon, and Pumbaa which results in Simba cornering Scar. In the midst of their fight, Scar tries to surreptitiously blame everything on the hyenas, but the hyenas overhear his conversation with Simba. Simba orders Scar to flee the Pride Lands. Scar pretends to leave but turns to attack Simba, resulting in a final duel. Simba eventually triumphs over his uncle by flipping him and kicks him over a low cliff. Scar survives the fall, but finds himself surrounded by the now resentful hyenas. The hyenas surround their traitorous fallen leader. Scar frantically tries to absolve himself, but the hyenas ignore him, and attack him and maul him to death, as flames rise around them.
With Scar and the hyenas gone, and with the rightful king in place, the Pride Lands are restored which is turning green with life again. The film concludes with Rafiki presenting Simba and Nala's newborn cub into the air, thus continuing the Circle of Life.
Matthew Brodrick as Simba
- Jonathan Taylor Thomas as Young Simba
Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa
Jeremy Irons as Scar
Nathan Lane as Timon
Rowan Atkinson as Zazu
Whoopi Goldberg as Shenzi
Cheech Marin as Bonzai
Jim Cummings as Ed
Moira Kelly as Nala
- Niketa Calame-Harris as Young Nala
Madge Sinclair as Sarabi
James Earl Jones as Mufasa
Directed By Roger Allers & Rob Minkoff
Produced By Don Hahn
The Lion King is a musical based on the 1994 Walt Disney Animation Studios' animated feature film of the same name with music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, and book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi, along with additional music and lyrics by Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor, and Hans Zimmer. Directed by Taymor, the musical features actors in animal costumes as well as giant, hollow puppets. The show is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions.
The movie was released in theaters in June 15, 1994.
Annie Award for Best Animated Feature - 1994
Academy Award for Best Original Music Score - 1995
Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy - 1995
Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score - 1995
Kids' Choice Awards for Favorite Movie - 1995
Satellite Award for Outstanding Youth Blu-Ray/DVD - 2004, 2011
|1.||"Circle of Life"||Carmen Twillie and Lebo M.||3:59|
|2.||"I Just Can't Wait to Be King"||Jason Weaver, Rowan Atkinson, and Laura Williams||2:50|
|3.||"Be Prepared"||Jeremy Irons, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings||3:40|
|4.||"Hakuna Matata"||Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Jason Weaver, and Joseph Williams||3:33|
|5.||"Can You Feel the Love Tonight"||Joseph Williams, Sally Dworsky, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, and Kristle Edwards||2:57|
|6.||"This Land (score)"||Hans Zimmer||2:55|
|7.||"...To Die For (score)"||Hans Zimmer||4:17|
|8.||"Under the Stars (score)"||Hans Zimmer||3:45|
|9.||"King of Pride Rock (score)"||Hans Zimmer||5:59|
|10.||"Circle of Life"||Elton John||4:51|
|11.||"I Just Can't Wait to Be King"||Elton John||3:37|
|12.||"Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (End Title)||Elton John||4:01|
A few weeks before the film opened, Elton John was given a special screening. Noticing that the film's love song had been left out, he successfully lobbied Jeffrey Katzenberg to have the song put back in. Later, "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" won him an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
The team working on the film was supposedly Disney's "team B," who were "kept busy" while "team A" worked on Pocahontas (1995), on which the production had much higher hopes. As it turned out, "The Lion King" became a huge critical and commercial success, whereas "Pocahontas" met with mixed reviews and a much lower box office.
Several character names are based on Swahili words: Simba - lion Nala - gift Sarabi - mirage Rafiki - friend Pumbaa - simpleton/weak-minded Shenzi - barbarous/uncouth/uncivilized/savage Despite the fact that Zawadi is the Swahili word for gift, Nala's name also means gift.
Disney DVD and VHS: October 7, 2003
Re-Released on June 24, 2002