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Disney and The Lion King

The Film
Timon and Pumbaa
Shenzi Banzi and Ed
Disney Land
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The Lion King III Simba's Heir Ver. 1.4 (Story)
Crossing the Desert (Story)
The Lion King IV Dark Ruler Ver. 1.4 (Story)
The Lion King V : The Final Clash Ver 1.4 (Story)
The Lion King VI Human Encounter Ver. 1.4 (Story)
Scar's Revenge (Story)
The Best On Broadway (Story)
Redemption (Story)
How Shenzi and Banzai Met (Story)
Relations (Story)
The Scarring of Taka (Story)
Zira and Timon (Story)
Fond Memories (Story)
Scar's Revenge (Story) Rene Gorydon
Roy E Disney
The Walt Disney Company
Walt Disney
Jason Raize
The Lion King Broadway CD Reviews
The Lion King Fan Reviews
The Lion King Critics Reviews
Lion King Broadway Reviews
The Lion King Movie Pictures


The Lion King is the 32nd animated feature in the Disney animated feature canon, and the highest-grossing traditionally animated feature film ever released in the United States. It was produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation, originally released to selected cities by Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Distribution on June 15, 1994, and put into general release on June 24, 1994. A digitally retouched and enhanced Special Edition version of the film was released in IMAX format on December 25, 2002.

The film 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 is frequently alleged that The Lion King was based on Osamu Tezuka's 1960s animated series Kimba the White Lion, although the filmmakers deny this. The filmmakers do, however, acknowledge the prominent influences of both Shakespeare's play Hamlet and the 1942 Disney animated feature Bambi.

Unlike previous Disney animated films, which featured only a select few famous voice actors alongside lesser-known performers, nearly all of the voice acting work for this film was done by well-known actors, including Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Robert Guillaume, Moira Kelly, Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin and Jim Cummings. The Lion King is a musical film, with songs written by composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, and a film score by Hans Zimmer. Many of the John/Rice tunes became Disney standards or pop hits in their own right, and Zimmer's score also drew substantial praise.

About the film

The Lion King, though a very humanistic story, remains the only Disney film to lack any trace of human existence. Robin Hood featured only anthropomorphized animals who lived like humans, while Bambi featured only unseen human characters; whether this makes The Lion King Walt Disney's first "non-human animals-only" film is open to interpretation, but it is one film that is free of "human elements". The film was also the first Disney animated feature to have a non-villain main character die on-screen. (Bambi's mother was shot off-screen, and was not seen afterwards as in The Lion King.)

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

During its production, The Lion King was considered a secondary project to Pocahontas, which was in production at the same time. Many of the Disney Feature Animation staffers preferred to work on Pocahontas, thinking that film would be the more prestigious and successful of the two. 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 ever at the time (though with inflation factored in it would be fourth). The film made $328,541,776 in domestic gross income and $783,841,776 worldwide. With hindsight, the film can be seen as marking the peak of the popular success of the late-80s-to-mid-90s "renaissance" of Disney animation.

Elton John and Tim Rice wrote five original songs for this film. John performs "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" during the end credits. However, the major musical praise focused on Hans Zimmer's score which was supplemented with traditional African music and choir elements arranged by Lebo M, which many critics felt played a crucial role in establishing the grand mythic tone of the African story.

The film was re-released in giant-screen IMAX theaters on December 25, 2002, with digital enhancements made to it. However, like the IMAX release of Beauty and the Beast the year before, it did not do as well as expected, and future IMAX release plans of films like Aladdin and The Little Mermaid were cancelled.

Plot synopsis

2002 IMAX re-release poster of The Lion King.
2002 IMAX re-release poster of The Lion King.

Simba's father, King Mufasa, is the lion king. He rules the kingdom with kindness and wisdom. However, Mufasa's younger brother Scar is jealous of his nephew's position as heir and so plots to usurp the throne. Mufasa teaches Simba about the Circle of Life and that everything is connected in a balance.

Scar allies himself with some starving hyenas in an attempt to overthrow his brother. Together with his hyenas, he engineers a wildebeest stampede in which Mufasa rescues Simba but he himself is lost in the stampede. However as all hope seems lost, Mufasa makes one last great leap to cling to the rockface. As Mufasa climbs higher, he looks up to see Scar standing on the ledge above him. Mufasa pleads to Scar for help, who gazes down on his brother and then suddenly latches his sharp claws into Mufasa's paws. Scar throws Mufasa back off the rock with the mocking words, "Long live the king." Mufasa is crushed under the hooves of the wildebeest. Scar manipulates Simba into thinking he is responsible for his father's death by causing the stampede (just prior to the event, Scar had advised Simba to "work on that little roar" of his, and one particularly loud noise Simba made actually seemed to trigger the stampede) and advises him to "run away and never return." As a sobbing, devastated Simba runs off, Scar orders his hyena henchmen to kill Simba. In the chase that follows, Simba escapes the hyenas who fear Scar's wrath and lie to him, saying that they captured and killed the young prince. Scar accepts the story, and assumes the throne, becoming the lion king.

Exhausted, Simba collapses in the desert. There the cub is saved and befriended by Timon and Pumbaa (a meerkat and warthog respectively), who teach Simba their philosophy of "hakuna matata" (no worries). After growing up with the pair, the adult Simba encounters his childhood friend, a beautiful and formidable young lioness named Nala, who has fled Scar's dictatorial rule to seek help. She urges Simba to return to the Pride Lands and retake his rightful throne, but he refuses, happy with his new "no worries" lifestyle -- and still traumatized by the false belief that he caused his father's death. Although the pair have fallen in love, they part: Nala angry with what she sees as Simba's irresponsibility, and Simba angry with Nala for scorning him.

After Rafiki the witch doctor mandrill (referred to as a baboon in the film) shows Simba that Mufasa's spirit still lives on inside him, and Mufasa appears to him as a ghost and demands of him to look inside himself and understand that he is the only rightful king, Simba decides to go back home.

When he arrives, Simba is incensed to find that his once joyful and prosperous kingdom has crumbled into a barren wasteland under King Scar's rule. With the support of Nala who has rallied the lionesses (including Simba's aged and yet still proud mother, the erstwhile Queen Sarabi), Simba confronts his uncle. Scar remains confident and with his hyenas forces Simba to confess to his responsibility for the death of Mufasa. Then Scar backs Simba to the edge of the cliff as lightning ignites the kingdom. Simba slips and hangs onto the rock as Mufasa did years before. Scar recalls Mufasa's death and just as the dictator had done to Mufasa, latches into Simba's paws with his claws. Just before Scar kills Simba the same way he killed Mufasa, he whispers the awful truth to Simba: that it was he, Scar, who killed Mufasa. Simba, enraged at the truth of the murder and how he was played a fool in it, leaps upon Scar and forces the tyrant to publicly confess to his crime.

The battle begins, and as the lionesses and hyenas fight, Simba does battle with Scar on the summit. Scar attempts to blame everything on the hyenas (who hear this); Simba shows mercy and tells Scar to run away from the kingdom and never return. Scar remembers those words; they were the exact words that he used to manipulate Simba after Mufasa died. Scar begins to slink off, only to scatter some burning embers into Simba's face. Taking advantage of Simba's surprise, Scar attacks him once again. There is a climactic battle and Simba is thrown to the edge of the cliff. Scar jumps through the flames to finish Simba off but it is Simba who throws his uncle over the cliff edge (making use of a move which Nala had used on him previously) and watches as Scar's former hyena allies turn on the dictator, after hearing him tell Simba they were 'the enemy'. In a powerful and beautifully depicted climax, Simba is finally declared the true lion king and leads the Pride Lands back into times of prosperity and glory. In the ending moments of the film, Simba and Nala's new-born cub is presented by Rafiki in a triumphant ceremony mirroring the film's beginning.

Voice cast

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

Singing voices

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

Supervising Animators

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

Key characters

Mufasa, Simba's father and King of the Pridelands.
Mufasa, Simba's father and King of the Pridelands.
  • Simba - The future ruler of the Pride Lands, son of Mufasa, who exiled himself after his father is killed. The word simba in the Swahili language means "lion."
  • Mufasa - King of the Pride Lands, father of Simba and mate of Sarabi, a wise and fair ruler, who understands and rules according to The Circle of Life. Tragically, his reign is cut short by his jealous brother Scar. Mufasa was reportedly the name of the last king of the Bagada people, who were dispersed during the British colonization of Kenya (see [1]).
  • Scar - Brother of Mufasa and Simba's uncle. The villain of the movie, Scar aspires to become king by overthrowing Mufasa and Simba. He succeeds in killing Mufasa, but his henchmen the hyenas allow Simba to escape. Scar rules as a tyrant and goes unchallenged until Simba returns years later to reclaim his birthright.
  • Timon - Comical meerkat who is best friends with warthog Pumbaa. They adopt and raise Simba under the philosophy of "Hakuna Matata" (Swahili for "no worries"). Timon could be named after a Greek philosopher or after the title character of Shakespeare's play Timon of Athens.
  • Pumbaa - Clumsy warthog who adopts Simba with Timon. Pumbaa means "simpleton" in Swahili.
  • Rafiki - Mandrill and wise old shaman, Simba's spiritual guide (Swahili for "friend"). Rafiki's tree is a baobab tree; baobab trees are occasionally known colloquially as "monkey-bread trees".
  • Nala - Friend and future mate of Simba (Swahili for "gift"). According to co-director Rob Minkoff, speaking in 2004, the general assumption during production was that Nala was the offspring of either Scar or Mufasa. The film never specifies this, for obvious reasons of taste, though it is consistent with the real-life behavior of lions.
  • Zazu - A pompous hornbill who is King Mufasa's majordomo (advisor).
  • Shenzi, Banzai and Ed - Three hyenas who assist Scar in murdering Mufasa and exiling Simba. However, in the end, it is these three devious hyenas who kill Scar. Shenzi is Swahili for "uncouth"; banzai means "skulk" or "lurk."
  • Sarabi - Mother of Simba and Mufasa's mate (Swahili for "mirage").
  • Sarafina - Nala's mother. Her name is never spoken in the movie, and indeed her dialog consists only of a single line ("Hm, what do you think, Sarabi?"). Nevertheless, the end credits as well as the vast majority of fan material appear to consider her a major character. This is in contrast to the gopher who also speaks only one line ("Zazu, Sir. News from the underground.") but is generally designated as a minor role.

    Sequels and spin-offs

    The Festival of the Lion King in Disney's Animal Kingdom. Timon is visible.
    The Festival of the Lion King in Disney's Animal Kingdom. Timon is visible.

    Sequels and spin-offs were inevitable after The Lion King's huge success. The first of these was a 70mm spin-off film called Circle of Life, which promoted environmental friendliness and shown in the Harvest Theater in The Land Pavilion at Epcot in Walt Disney World in 1995. Also debuting in 1995 was a spin-off television series called Timon and Pumbaa which focused on the titular meerkat and warthog duo, and implied that the story took place during the mid-20th century through the appearance of humans and technology. Finally, a direct-to-video sequel called The Lion King II: Simba's Pride was released in 1998, focusing on Simba's daughter Kiara. A second direct-to-video sequel (or perhaps midquel), The Lion King 1 (also known as The Lion King 3: Hakuna Matata), was released on February 10, 2004, and takes place in a parallel timeline that interweaves with the original Lion King, but from Timon and Pumbaa's perspective.

    Home Video

    1995 VHS cover of The Lion King.
    1995 VHS cover of The Lion King.

    The Lion King was first released on VHS and laserdisc in the United States on March 3, 1995. The VHS tape quickly became one of the best-selling videotapes of all time. In addition, Deluxe Editions of both formats were released. The VHS Deluxe Edition included the film, an exclusive lithograph of Rafiki and Simba (in some editions), a commemorative "Circle of Life" epigraph, six concept art lithographs, another tape with the Making of The Lion King half-hour show and a certificate of authenticity. The CAV laserdisc Deluxe Edition also has the film, six concept art litographs and the "Making of The Lion King" show, but includes storyboards, character design artwork, concept art, rough animation and a directors' commentary that the VHS edition doesn't. These home video versions of The Lion King all went into moratorium in 1997.

    The Lion King: Platinum Edition DVD cover.
    The Lion King: Platinum Edition DVD cover.

    On October 7, 2003, the film was re-released on VHS and released to DVD for the first time as The Lion King: Platinum Edition, as part of Disney's Platinum Edition line of animated classics. The DVD release featured a remastered version of the film created for the IMAX release, and a second disc with bonus features. The film's soundtrack was available in its original Dolby 5.1 track or in a new Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix. By means of seamless branching, the movie could be viewed either with or without an extra scene - a short conversation in the movie replaced with a complete song, "The Morning Report", which was originally written for the stage musical of the film. A Special Collector's Gift Set was also released, with the DVD set, five exclusive lithographed character portraits (new sketches created and signed by the original character animators) and an introductory book entitled The Journey in a black box. A DVD boxed set of the three Lion King films (in two-disc Special Edition formats) was released on December 6, 2004.

    However, this Platinum Edition of The Lion King was criticized by fans mainly for its false advertising – producer Don Hahn claimed that the film would be in its original 1994 theatrical version earlier, but it ended up being the "digitally enhanced" IMAX version. The DVD release was criticized for its hard-to-navigate system of the bonus disc, and its shallow extras. Still, it was praised for its brilliantly restored picture and sound. The DVD was also the first to include an optional Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix for the film's soundtrack, and received great response from consumers. Disney has since included this enhanced mix in its major DVD titles such as Aladdin, Mary Poppins, Bambi and Cinderella.


    The 1994 original soundtrack cover of The Lion King.
    The 1994 original soundtrack cover of The Lion King.

    Aside from the Elton John/Tim Rice songs, the instrumental music was composed by Hans Zimmer with additional material arranged by Lebo M. Very few of the voice actors in the movie were able to do their own singing, and a majority of the songs were done by vocal doubles.

    Original motion picture soundtrack

    The film's original motion picture soundtrack was released on July 13, 1994. The original United States version of the CD had the following tracks:

    1. "Circle of Life" - Carmen Twillie
    2. "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" - Jason Weaver, Rowan Atkinson, Laura Williams
    3. "Be Prepared" - Jeremy Irons, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, Jim Cummings
    4. "Hakuna Matata" - Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Jason Weaver, Joseph Williams
    5. "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" - Joseph Williams, Sally Dworsky, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Kristle Edwards
    6. "This Land" (Instrumental)
    7. "...To Die For" (Instrumental)
    8. "Under the Stars" (Instrumental)
    9. "King of Pride Rock" (Instrumental)
    10. "Circle of Life" - Elton John
    11. "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" - Elton John
    12. "Can You Feel the Love Tonight (End Title)" - Elton John

    In most international releases of the CD, Elton John's versions were removed except for "Can You Feel the Love Tonight (End Title)", and an additional track, "Hyenas" (Instrumental), was included.

    On September 30, 2003, Disney released a Special Edition of the soundtrack, with two newly-added tracks:

    Rhythm of the Pride Lands

    Rhythm of the Pride Lands album cover art.
    Rhythm of the Pride Lands album cover art.

    On 28 February 1995, Disney released an album entitled Rhythm of the Pride Lands, a "sequel" to the original soundtrack which featured songs and performances inspired by, but not featured in, the film. Most of the tracks were composed by African composer Lebo M, and focused primarily on the African influences of the film's original music, with most songs being sung either partially or entirely in various African languages. Several songs featured on the album would later have incarnations in other Lion King-oriented projects, such as the stage musical or the direct-to-video sequels.

    The initial release of the album included the following tracks:

    1. "He Lives in You" - Lebo M
    2. "Hakuna Matata" - Jimmy Cliff, Lebo M
    3. "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" - Lebo M
    4. "Kube" - Lebo M
    5. "Lea Halalela (Holy Land)" - Khululiwe Sithole
    6. "It's Time" - Lebo M
    7. "One By One" - Lebo M
    8. "Warthog Rhapsody" - Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella
    9. "Lala" - Lebo M
    10. "Busa" - Lebo M
    11. "Noyana" - Luyanda Jezile, Wendy Mseleku, Max Ngcobo, Lebo M

    Rhythm of the Pride Lands was initially printed in a very limited quantity, and has since become a collector's item. However, it was re-released in 2003, included in some international versions of The Lion King's special edition soundtrack, with an additional track:

    • 01. "Circle of Life" - The Disney Channel Circle of Stars

    The Lion King Complete Score

    The cover of The Lion King Complete Score
    The cover of The Lion King Complete Score

    The official soundtrack released by Disney contained very little of Hans Zimmer's instrumental score. The tracks included were pieced together from various parts of the film and therefore not entirely representative of the scenes linked to them. Relatively recently a bootleg CD containing all of the missing score has been released, with many of the tracks recorded at a slower rate than normal, in monaural, and/or not ordered correctly with their appearance in the film.

    The CD is titled The Lion King Complete Score or Lion King Expanded Score and was first mentioned on The CD itself is difficult to obtain, but it has been sighted on eBay.


    Main article: The Lion King (musical)

    The movie was also adapted into an award-winning Broadway stage musical with the same title, directed by Julie Taymor, featuring actors in animal costumes as well as giant, hollow puppets. The stage show first opened on July 31st, 1997 in Minneapolis at the Orpheum Theatre, and was an instant and tremendous success, moving permanently to the New Amsterdam Theater on Broadway in New York that October. A version later opened in London, and another in Toronto, playing there until January 2004. In June of 2006, the Broadway production will move to the Minskoff Theater to make way for the musical version of Mary Poppins

    Role in the Disney Canon

    To many, The Lion King represents the peak of the late 1980's to mid 1990's Disney Renaissance in animation. The Renaissance featured a return to traditional Disney standard storytelling modes and motifs, a reliance on ever-expanding filmmaking technology, and a strong influence of musical theater.

    Although not specifically based on any previous film, The Lion King borrows the archetypical Disney story of an orphan battling a villain (usually a relative) for control of his or her birthright. This is seen in classic films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bambi, and Cinderella.

    Significant use of computer-aided design helped the filmmakers to use the old story structure in new, visual ways. The most notable use of computer-aided animation is in the famous "wildebeest stampede" sequence. Several distinct wildebeest characters were drawn into a computer program, multiplied into the hundreds, and given randomized paths down a mountainside to simulate the real, unpredictable movement of a herd. Similar multiplication occurs in the "Be Prepared" musical number with identical marching hyenas. Computers also aided in the implementation of a classic Disney animation technique called "multiplaning" that was prominently featured in Bambi.

    With six major musical numbers (including a repeated "Circle of Life" at film's beginning and end), The Lion King is heavily influenced by American musical theater. The film's look changes drastically from the "realistic" world of the drama and the stylized world of the musical numbers. For instance, the "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" number transitions from a background of natural savanna to abstract blue and pink African tribal patterns the instant the singing begins - and just as quickly back out of it when the music ends. Also, in the "Hakuna Matata" number, the characters sing in a jungle surrounding, lit by spotlights that follow them from the sky.



    Story Origin

    Jungle Emperor (ジャングル大帝), a.k.a. Kimba the White Lion
    Jungle Emperor (ジャングル大帝), a.k.a. Kimba the White Lion

    The Lion King was claimed to be the first animated Disney movie to be based on an original story, although the accuracy of this has become disputed. The Lion King bears a striking resemblance to a famous Japanese animated television show, Kimba the White Lion, and claims have been made that The Lion King was inspired by it. See comparison screenshots here. Starting with the protagonist's name (Kimba/Simba), most characters in Kimba have an analogue in The Lion King, and various individual scenes are nearly identical in composition and camera angle. Disney's official stance is that any resemblance is coincidental, and the directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff claim they were well into the development process before the Kimba similarity was identified. The family of Osamu Tezuka, Kimba's creator, has not filed suit against Disney.

    The Kimba controversy is mentioned in The Simpsons episode "'Round Springfield".
    The Kimba controversy is mentioned in The Simpsons episode "'Round Springfield".

    The filmmakers, however, admitted that the story of The Lion King was inspired by the 1942 Disney animated film Bambi, Exodus from the Bible, and William Shakespeare's Hamlet. In fact, Christopher Vogler, in his book The Writer's Journey, Second Edition: Mythic Structure for Writers (ISBN 0941188701), described how Disney approached him with a copy of Hamlet asking how to improve the plot of The Lion King by incorporating ideas from Shakespeare. Relationship between the two plots includes: The brother to the king (Scar to Mufasa; Claudius to King Hamlet) kills the king (this occurs before the play Hamlet begins). The rightful heir does not avenge his father's death (Simba to Hamlet). Later, at the urging of his father's ghost, the prince recalls his duty (although Hamlet vacillates between action and inaction) and ultimately returns from exile to kill his uncle (but Hamlet was not in exile at the time, and Simba does not personally kill Scar).

    Much of Hamlet's plot has no parallel in The Lion King, however. Vogler claims that several further ideas were suggested to Disney but not incorporated into the movie, including possibly a fight of young Simba with some dangerous animal to mark his transition from a child to mature hero. The Hamlet argument appears to have been promoted by Disney personnel after the Kimba controversy started.

    The contribution of Vogler itself raised controversy. At the time of the film's release, studios were clamoring to utilize Vogler's theories on applying mythic structure to screenplays to streamline story development. There was backlash by critics who felt that Vogler's treatises on story structure - which actually only codified basic mythic structure - was an industry-wide attempt at making all films formulaic. The Lion King, in particular, because of Vogler's involvement and its near-perfect adherence to mythic structure, was cited as a major culprit of the trend.

    The 1988 Amblin animated film The Land Before Time also has a few concepts that were apparently borrowed for use in The Lion King. When Littlefoot is crying over his mother, an old reptile gives him advice, mentioning "The Great Circle of Life". In the last part of the movie, Littlefoot's mother's ghost appears to him in cloud form and speaks to him; similar to how Mufasa speaks to Simba.SEX"

    The 'SFX' frame
    The 'SFX' frame

    In one scene of the movie it appears as if animators had embedded the word "sex" into several frames of animation, which conservative activist Donald Wildmon asserted was a subliminal message intended to promote sexual promiscuity. Another common interpretation is that the text is "SEK", snuck in by Korean SEK Studio that was hired by Disney to do some of the film's animation work. According to Disney, however, it is supposed to read "SFX" (a common abbreviation of "special effects"), and was a sort of innocent "signature" signed by the effects animation team to the work they did. An examination of the actual frames in question supports this latter claim, as the lower part of the alleged "E" is indeed astray. During the restoration of the film for IMAX and DVD, the frames were altered not to include the word.

    The Lion Sleeps Tonight

    The use of the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" has led to 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 filed suit, seeking $1.6 million in royalties.

    Deleted Musical Scene

    It has been said part of a scene was removed from the American version of The Lion King stage musical. When Mufasa dies, the lionesses cry over his dead body: this is enacted using a Japanese bunraku puppet mourning technique in which ribbons flow out of the eyes to symbolize tears. To some, the story goes, this looks like the lionesses were crying toilet paper, causing the audience to laugh at an inappropriate moment. However, although the scene can provoke laughter and confusion, the scene was not actually removed. The story can therefore be dismissed as an urban legend.

    Video games

    Screenshot from the SNES version of the game.
    Screenshot from the SNES version of the game.

    Two video games based on the film have been released. The first, simply called The Lion King, was published in 1994 by Virgin and was released on SNES, Game Boy, Sega Megadrive, Game Gear, PC and Amiga. The second, entitled The Lion King: Simba's Mighty Adventure, was published in 2000 by Activision and was released on Playstation and Game Boy Color.

    A third game was published in 2004 simply called "The Lion King" for GBA, but was in fact a game based on the second direct-to-video sequel The Lion King 1 with Timon and Pumbaa as the playable characters.

    Simba makes an appearance in the PlayStation 2 game Kingdom Hearts as well as Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories as a summon. In the sequel Kingdom Hearts II, the entire world of The Lion King is explored, with many characters from the film making appearances. At certain points, Simba and Nala temporarily join the protagonists' party, all of whom are transformed into wild animal versions of themselves (Sora is a lion cub, Donald Duck is a less anthropomorphic flying bird, and Goofy is a tortoise).


    • Lion King is also the ring-nickname of Kamal El Amrani, a German Middle weight Muay Thai kick-boxer in the prestigious Super League, World Champion WPKL, World Champion IKBO, and the mixed K-1 competition.
    • Some of the animation for the film was subcontracted to SEK Studio in North Korea.
    • Though tie-in books published by Disney at the time of the film's release identified Simba's cub at the end of the film as a male named Kopa, the film's sequels disregard the character, replacing him with a lioness named Kiara.
    • Tetsuya Nomura, the director of the Kingdom Hearts series, admitted that The Lion King is his favorite Disney movie.
    • In The Christmas Invasion, an episode of the popular British sci-fi series Doctor Who (2005 series), the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) references the song Circle of Life.
      • Julie Gardner, the executive producer for Doctor Who, mentions in the audio commentary for this episode that 'the Lion King speech' is one of her favourite parts of the episode.
    • In the middle of the song "Be Prepared", the actor/singer playing Scar switches from Jeremy Irons to Jim Cummings on the line "You won't get a sniff without me!" This was due to Irons' voice giving out, rumored to be because of the cigarettes he smoked during production of the song.
    • Throughout every international dub of The Lion King, the only voice that wasn't changed was Ed's (performed by Jim Cummings.) This is due to the fact that Ed never speaks. He only laughs and it wouldn't be necessary to get a foreign voice actor to "dub" laughter.
    • In Scar's song, "Be Prepared" he sits on a cliff, overlooking his hyenas marching in front of him. This is a reference to the Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will, with Scar taking the place of Hitler.

Now you can own The Lion King 2 Disc Special Platinum Edition on DVD. The DVD features The Lion King like you've never seen it before. In a dazzling 2 Disc Special Platinum Edition with brand new digitally restored and remastered audio and video. There is also a Disney home theater mix that you can choose instead of Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. The DVD features two versions of the film: A Special Edition Version that features a brand-new song "The Morning Report". It also features the original theatrical version that audiences know and love. Disc 2 Features The making of The Lion King and games like Pumbaa and Timon's Virtual Safari. You can take either a boat tour or a jeep tour through the jungle. This is a jam packed DVD. It is great for any fan of The Lion King.



Platinum Edition 2-DISC DVD Available October 7

First Ever DIGITAL PRESENTATION of Academy Award-Winning* Film
Completely Restored With All-New 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix

Featuring All-New Song “Morning Report”
From Sir Elton John & Tim Rice
With Never-Before-Seen Animation

BURBANK, Calif., April 11, 2003 - Disney’s crowning achievement, the #1 animated film of all time,
THE LION KING is available for the first time ever as a SPECIAL EDITION 2-Disc DVD set from
Walt Disney Home Entertainment on October 7. Now “THERE IS MORE TO BE SEEN THAN
HAS EVER BEEN SEEN” as this magnificent, Academy-Award-winning masterpiece is presented
with such outstanding special features as: TWO versions of the film; an all-new song “Morning
Report” by songwriters Elton John and Tim Rice; all-new animation created exclusively for the DVD;
a virtual safari in 5.1 Surround Sound; exciting journeys that take you behind this fabled movie and
more. Designed specifically for home theater systems, this DVD features the very finest in audio
quality with the all-new 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix, as befits the “king of all DVDs.”
There is MORE TO SEE, MORE TO HEAR and MORE TO DO with the incredible LION KING
SPECIAL EDITION as everyone can enjoy this greatest of Disney animated treasures in the best
home viewing mode possible, available on Disney DVD for $29.99 (S.R.P.). VHS $24.99 (S.R.P.).

♦ The LION KING SPECIAL EDITION DVD represents the film’s first-ever digital
presentation of the film - a completely new and enhanced viewing experience!
♦ Two versions of the film are included:
The Original Theatrical Release
Special Edition with the all-new song “Morning Report”
♦ Rare deleted scenes.
♦ All-new 3D animation has been created exclusively for the DVD.

♦ A Disney innovation! All-new 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater mix
Engineered by Academy Award Nominated Re-recording Mixer, Terry Porter,
to create a more dynamic and spatially enhanced audio-sensory experience.
Designed specifically for home theater systems.

♦ “Experiential” features that extend the movie experience including Games and a
Virtual Safari in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound.
♦ Go beyond and explore the worldwide phenomenon of THE LION KING through a
breakthrough navigational system that offers five special journeys of music, film,
stage, story and animal inspirations.
♦ Revolutionary bonus features and exciting games will appeal to families, DVD
enthusiasts, movie fans and anyone interested in this classic film.


Zazu hosts you on a fabulous trek through the different realms of the DVD kingdom.

• Two Versions Of The Film:
Original theatrical release
Special Edition with all-new song “Morning Report” seamlessly integrated
into the original film.

• The Making Of The New Song “Morning Report”
• The Lion King Personality Profile Game

• All-New “Circle of Life” Music Video
Performed by the Disney Channel’s “Circle of Stars,” including Hillary
Duff (TV’s “Lizzy McGuire”), Raven Symone (TV’s “That’s So Raven”),
Christy Romano (TV’s “Even Stevens”), Anneliese Van Der Pol (TV’s
That’s So Raven), Orlando Brown (TV’s “The Proud Family”), Tahj
Mowry (TV’s “Smart Guy”), Kyla Pratt (TV’s “The Proud Family”) and
A.J. Trauth (TV’s “Even Stevens”).
• Sing Along Track

• Timon’s Grab-A-Grub Game – Disney’s FIRST EVER 2-player set top game.
• Pumbaa’s Sound Sensations Game.
All-new sound matching game in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound.

• Deleted & Abandoned Scenes
Bug Football
Hakuna Matata
Warthog Rhapsody
• Abandoned Concept for “Can You Feel The Love Tonight”
• Audio Commentary


Set your course for adventure across the continents or embark on a chartered journey!

• Join your outrageous tour guides Timon and Pumbaa for an action-packed blast
through the wilds of Africa – in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound!

• Learn how real animals inspired the animated Lion King characters
Hosted by Roy Disney

• Learn the fascinating origin and influences behind The Lion King
Story origins
Timeless themes
The story comes to life

• Behind the scenes featurette on the hit musical which explores masks, costumes,
puppets and more.

• Behind-The-Scenes footage
• Character design
• Computer animation
• Storyboards
• African art inspiration

• Exclusive interviews with Sir Elton John & Tim Rice
• Lion King music videos
• African influence on the music
Plus storyboard to film comparison, early presentation reels, character design galleries, art design
galleries and much more!

All DVD bonus materials subject to change.


THE LION KING – SPECIAL EDITION offers the highest quality digital presentation
with enhanced picture available, with an All-New 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater
Mix – creating a more dynamic and spatial audio-sensory experience. For the Special
Edition, THE LION KING has been meticulously and painstakingly reformatted one
frame at a time, working from the film’s original digitally stored files.
Led by the original filmmaking team from Disney’s famed Feature Animation division, a
group of Disney’s top artists and technicians launched a major effort to remove dust and
dirt, add detail and provide the home viewer with a digital picture and sound that is the
finest possible.


All-New Song “Morning Report”
The legendary team of singer/songwriter Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice contribute the
new song “Morning Report” to THE LION KING SPECIAL EDITION DVD. The
DVD offers “Morning Report” on an alternate version of the film, with never-before-seen
animation produced and directed by the original Feature Animation Lion King team.
Elton John and Tim Rice won the 1994 Academy Award for Best Music (Song), with
their song “Can You Feel The Love Tonight. ” Their outstanding contributions include
such beloved songs as the buoyant “Hakuna Matata,” the upbeat “Just Can’t Wait To Be
King” and the majestic song “The Circle of Life.” Hans Zimmer won the 1994 Academy
Award for Best Music, Original Score for his evocative musical score.


THE LION KING’s stellar cast includes Matthew Broderick (TV’s “The Music Man,”
Broadway’s “The Producers”), Jeremy Irons (“The Time Machine”; Academy Award
winner, Best Actor, “Reversal of Fortune” 1990), Robert Guillaume (TV’s “Sports
Night”), James Earl Jones (“Star Wars”), Nathan Lane (Broadway’s “The Producers”),
Cheech Marin (“Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams”), Ernie Sabella (TV’s “House of
Mouse”), Jonathan Taylor Thomas (“The Wild Thornberrys”), Whoopi Goldberg (“Rat
Race”) and Rowan Atkinson (“Bean”).
Street Date: October 7, 2003
Feature running time: Approximately 90 minutes
DVD aspect ratio: 1.66:1 (widescreen) Original Theatrical Aspect Ratio
Enhanced for 16x9 screens
Suggested retail price: $29.99 DVD (S.R.P.). $24.99 VHS (S.R.P.).
Rated: “G” General Audiences
Bonus material: Not Rated. Bonus material subject to change.
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
All-new 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix

From the magnificent musical opening over breathtaking African vistas, to its rip-roaring,
emotional climax, THE LION KING reigns supreme as one of animation’s greatest
crowning achievements. Set amid the majestic beauty of the Serengeti, Disney’s epic
coming-of-age saga tells of the love between a proud lion ruler Mufasa (James Earl
Jones) and his son Simba (Matthew Broderick), a nave and curious cub who “just can’t
wait to be king.”

When Simba’s envious Uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons) schemes with his hyena henchmen,
including Shenzi (Whoopi Goldberg), trouble invades the kingdom. To the rescue comes
a hilarious meerkat named Timon (Nathan Lane) and that warmhearted warthog, Pumbaa
(Ernie Sabella) – and soon Simba joins in the carefree lifestyle of “Hakuna Matata.”
With Rafiki (Robert Guillaume) at his side, Simba reclaims his true destiny and joins the
“circle of life.”

Walt Disney Home Entertainment is distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment,
Inc., a recognized industry leader. Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc. is the
marketing, sales and distribution company for Walt Disney, Touchstone, Miramax,
Dimension and Buena Vista videocassettes and DVDs.

This is Walt Disney's highest grossing traditional animated film in history.

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