The Lion King (1994)

8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Stampede scene, catchy music

Music needs to be more integrated into the story

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Lion King

Studio: Walt Disney Feature Animation

Genre(s): Family/Musical/Animated

Release Date(s): July 15, 1994 (3-D Version September 16, 2011)

MPAA Rating: G


I totally see a gazelle I’m eating tomorrow.

Simba is born to lead the Pride and be the king of all the plains, but his uncle Scar has other plans.  With the death of his father, Simba is forced into exile.  Can he ever return to the land he is meant to rule?

Directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, The Lion King was the 32nd film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics line and was Disney’s first animated movie that wasn’t based on a novel or story.  Following Aladdin in 1992, The Lion King ended up being the highest grossing 2D animated film in history and the most successful film of 1994.

The Lion’s King‘s story is basic and that is part of what works.  The disgraced prince in exile coming back to claim his kingdom has a lot of literary background including the Bible.  The story also contains one of the most traumatic deaths for kids since Bambi’s mother when Mufasa is killed by Scar, and Scar blames Simba for his death.  This moment is one of the high points of the film (unfortunately it comes so early leaving a lot of lag time).


I just want to….tell you…one last thing…before I die, Simba…..This is…all…your…fault

The movie is full of great voice actors.  Matthew Broderick played Simba as an adult while Jonathan Taylor Thomas plays him as a youth.  Simba’s friends Timon and Pumba were voiced by Nathan Lane and character actor Ernie Sabella.  Rowan Adkinson plays the hornbill Zazu, and Robert Guillaume was the voice of the mandrill Rafiki.  Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and voice actor Jim Cummings are the hyenas.  Two talented actors voice the “senior” lions, Scar is voiced by Jeremy Irons and James Earl Jones provides the booming voice of Mufasa.

The Lion King cannot be mentioned with out talking about the Elton John soundtrack.  The songs are catchy and hold up on their own.  I have a bit of a problem with the music of The Lion King in that they sometimes stand alone too much.  The purpose of the songs is to move the story along, but they often just feel like music videos stuck in the middle of the movie.  Unlike a movie like Beauty and the Beast or The Little Mermaid, the characters of The Lion King just seem to say “Let’s stop & sing…ok now back to the story”.  The songs do progress the story but aren’t meshed as well as some of the other Disney musicals.


Eat that, E. T.! We can walk in front of the moon too!

The Lion King was adapted into an award winning Broadway musical and spawned the sequel The Lion King II:  Simba’s Pride and the partial prequel (which also has events occurs during The Lion King movie) called The Lion King 1 1/2.  In September 2011, The Lion King was rereleased for a limited time in the theaters as a 3D film becoming number one in the box office again, setting up its Blu-Ray release.  Disney followed The Lion King with Pocahontas in 1995.


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response