The Lion King

  • Directors: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
  • Producers: Don Hahn
  • Writers: Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, Linda Woolverton
  • Genres: Animation, Adventure, Drama, Family, Musical
  • Actors: Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Moira Kelly, Robert Guillaume, Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, Jim Cummings

The Lion King takes place in the Pride Lands of the Serengeti, where a lion rules over the other animals as king. Rafiki (Robert Guillaume), a wise old mandrill, anoints Simba (cub by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, adult by Matthew Broderick), 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 (“Circle of Life”).

Mufasa takes Simba on a tour of the Pride Lands, teaching him about the “Circle of Life”, the delicate balance affecting all living things. Taking advantage of the cub’s naive nature, Simba’s scheming uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons) (who is very angry because Simba’s birth means that he’s no longer next in line to the throne) tells him about the elephant graveyard, a place where Mufasa has forbidden Simba to go. Simba asks his mother if he can go to the water-hole with his best friend, Nala (cub by Niketa Calame, adult by Moira Kelly). Their parents 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 met by Shenzi, Banzai and Ed (Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin and Jim Cummings), spotted hyenas who try to kill them, but they are rescued by Mufasa.

Atop Pride Rock’s peak, Simba corners Scar. To gain Simba’s mercy, Scar blames everything on the hyenas but Shenzi, Banzai and Ed overhear this betrayal. Simba demands that Scar go into exile. Scar pretends to leave but turns to attack Simba, resulting in a final duel. Simba triumphs over his uncle by kicking him over a low cliff. Scar survives the fall but finds himself surrounded by the now-resentful hyenas, who attack and kill him. Simba and Nala become the new king and queen of the Pride Lands. The film concludes with the Pride Lands turning green with life again and Rafiki presenting Simba and Nala’s newborn cub as “The Circle of Life” continues.