- Television series:
- Video games:
Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba note Sithi uhm ingonyama note
— isiZulu chorus
, "The Circle of Life"
Released in 1994, and to date, the second most financially successful film in the Disney Animated Canon*
; and its 32nd entry.The Lion King
tells the story of a lion cub named Simba who is heir to the African Pride Lands, only to be tricked by his jealous uncle. Simba flees the Pride Lands in shame, but is saved from certain death in the wastelands by two wisecracking animals
who raise Simba under their responsibility-free philosophy of "Hakuna Matata
" ("no worries"). However, when Simba meets an old friend from his past years later, he must decide whether to continue his carefree existence or return to the dying Pride Lands and reclaim his throne from Scar.
A plot described by some as Hamlet
, with a few hints of Henry IV
, with Talking Animals
. The sequels seem to follow the Shakespeare trend, as The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
is Romeo and Juliet
and Macbeth With Talking Animals In Africa
, and The Lion King 1˝
resembles Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
(a Perspective Flip
, written in the 1960s). It launched the fantastic spinoff Timon & Pumbaa
, which is vastly different in tone and setting
from the original movie and doesn't appear to have any Shakespearean counterpart. A second television series, The Lion Guard
, is set to appear as part of the Disney Junior lineup in 2015, focused around Simba's son Kion, who gathers a group of animals to protect the Pride Lands from danger. (Kiara has been confirmed as turning up in the series, making the new series backstory to the DVD films.)
The video game adaptation
for the Genesis and SNES (and others) was very well received
, though notoriously hard beyond the first level
The Screen-to-Stage Adaptation The Lion King
arrived on Broadway in 1997 and it was an instant smash hit that received much acclaim for its imaginative staging, musical numbers and general awesomeness, by director Julie Taymor.
Now has a re-release in Disney Digital 3D
, which has become the first re-release of a movie since the 1997 re-release of Return of the Jedi
to hit number one at the box office.
One of the approximately 40 foreign dubs of this movie, incidentally, was in Zulu, and it remains the only Disney movie to ever have been dubbed in an African language.
This film provides examples of:
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- 0% Approval Rating: Scar does a pretty lousy job of running Pride Rock, rendering it a barren wasteland, but refuses to let the pride move somewhere more survivable. This earns him plenty of contempt from all of his underlings.
- 3-D Movie: In September 2011.
- Adult Fear: Discussed.
Simba: But you're not scared of anything!
Mufasa: I was today.
Simba: You were?
Mufasa: Yes. I thought I might lose you.
- Aerith and Bob: The hyenas: Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed.
- Alternate Animal Affection: Rubbing heads, crossing necks, and a lick on the cheek.
- Alternate Ending: The original ending to the movie would've had Scar actually throw Simba off Pride Rock at the end of the fight (after Simba tries to save his life). Scar then dies laughing hysterically as the fires surrounding Pride Rock engulf it, burning him to death. Simba survived the fall (ironically meaning Scar throwing him off Pride Rock saved his life) and then meets up with Nala after the fires are put out. This was changed as the filmmakers felt this wouldn't have really brought Scar to justice for his actions.
- Ambiguous Time Period: Except for minor pop-culture references that may have slipped into the plot, there is no indication of what time the story takes place. Which is part of why it is so appealing. It could be happening in 1607 or 100 years in the future. The story does not feature any humans, only animals in the wild, so there's hardly anything within the setting that could ever became dated.
- Amusing Injuries: Zazu being tackled by Simba, Zazu being launched high into the air by a geyser, and Banzai falling into a thorn pit. All three are notable for the other characters finding them funny as well as the audience: "Cactus butt!"
- And Rafiki hitting Simba on the head.
- Animal Ladder: Zazu at the end of "I Just Can't Wait to be King".
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: The song "Be Prepared", in which Scar rallies the Hyenas into setting up a new age in Pride Rock, ruled by Scar and the Hyenas. The Nazi symbolism is quite clear during a sequence when the Hyenas goose step (the most evilest march ever) by Scar. The scene is directly inspired by Triumph of the Will. This makes the song especially chilling if you watch it in either Hebrew or German.
- Animal Talk
- Arc Words: The phrase "Our/Your/My little secret" is said three times, all by Scar. It's easy to miss as the first instance is relativity early in the first act, and the last two right before and during the film's climax.
- Armor Piercing Statement:
- Arranged Marriage: Simba and Nala; a rare happy one, although they're not too thrilled by the idea when they first find out.
Young Simba: But I can't marry her. She's my friend!
Young Nala: Yeah, it'd be so weird.
- Artistic License – Biology:
- Rafiki is a Mandrill with a tail of a Baboon and living in the savannah instead of in the forest; Pumbaa is a reddish brown warthog that looks more like a big-headed pig than a warthog; Timon is an always-bipedal meerkat with human-like teeth and that says "Ugh, Carnivores!" even though he belongs to the order Carnivora as well; the Spotted Hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) that bear some resemblance with Striped Hyenas (Hyaena hyaena), with grey hair, large shaggy black manes, black ears and low-hanging head.
- During Scar's Villain Song, he spontaneously grows a thumb on his feline hand just so he can grab Banzai by the neck.
- Averted. The movie was originally going to be called King of the Jungle and be about African lions living in the jungle. This idea was dropped when the production staff realized that lions don't actually live in the jungle.
- Given that they are very close to the same age, realistically, Scar and Mufasa would have been kicked out of their natal pride by their father at or around the same time, and worked together to take over a pride. Which they would then lead and father cubs for together. The same would have happened to Simba, had Mufasa lived. But, that doesn't make for a very good Disneyfied version of Hamlet, now does it?
- Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!:
Zazu: (trapped) Let me out, let me out!
Timon: (chased) Let me in, let me in!
- Award Bait Song: "Can You Feel The Love Tonight". ("Circle of Life" also earned nominations, but that one is the only that fits the "Award Bait" formula.)
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: There's no physical crown, but the scene in which Simba ascends Pride Rock and finally lets loose with a full-throated lion roar signifies that he has taken his place as King.
- Babies Ever After: Simba and Nala's cub appears in the final scene.
- Backstab Backfire: Scar would've won his last fight if he hadn't chosen to tell Simba who was really responsible for Mufasa's death. And he still might have survived it if he hadn't tried to blame everything on the hyenas (who were practically his only supporters at that point, and three looked to be sneaking up behind Simba, backing off when they heard him) before he ended up needing their help.
- Badass: There is a reason Mufasa trusts Rafiki as the Hyenas find out. He's dangerous when he wants to be.
(smacking a hyena with his fist
- Badass Grandpa: Rafiki might be an old and wise baboon, but he has no trouble taking on an entire group of hyenas, knocking each of them out in one blow with his bare hands and feet while the lions are using claws and teeth.
- Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: The hyenas are none too happy about Scar trying to throw them under the bus earlier, and they're mighty hungry...
- Batman Gambit: A particular talent of Scar's. He plays everyone like a fiddle because he knows them so well.
- Battle Amongst the Flames: One of the most famous examples occurs at the end.
- Beauty Equals Goodness: While no one is necessarily "beautiful" or "ugly" by the standards of the human viewers, most of the good characters (Zazu and all the lions except for Scar) are quite normal looking, while the antagonists are rather creepy looking. Averted with Pumbaa, Timon, and espicially Rafiki.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: "Oh I just can't wait to be king!"
- Berserk Button:
- Mufasa is level-headed and wise, until you mess with his cub...
- Scar can't stand hearing Mufasa's name, to the point that he makes a law against saying it.
- Pumbaa is called a pig, prompting him to say "Are you talking to me?! They call me MISTER PIG!" before attacking. However he doesn't mind when Timon or Simba call him one; it's just strangers.
- When Simba returns to Pride Rock after Scar turns it into a barren landscape, he snaps when he sees Scar striking his mom.
- Rafiki gets one when Simba is attacked and unleashes a whole can of baboon kick-ass on the hyenas!.
- Better Living Through Evil: This line from the hyenas touches this trope:
"We'll have food! Lots of food! We repeat! Endless meat!"
- Beware the Nice Ones: See Berserk Button. Makes sense in this case, as you don't want to piss off a boar warthog.
- Big Bad: Scar.
- Big Good: Mufasa.
- Big "NO!":
- Twice by Simba. When Mufasa dies and when Simba finds out who did it.
- Scar just before he is devoured by the hyenas.
- Bilingual Bonus:
- "Hakuna Matata" is a touristy phrase — versus Hamna Shida — translating roughly as "there are no worries" in Swahili.
- The first line of Rafiki's chant is "Asante sana squash banana." In context, it doesn't mean anything, but "asante sana" is Swahili for "thank you very much." In addition, the second line does mean "You're a baboon and I am not".
- The Zulu chants provided by Lebo M. certainly count as well.
- Most of the characters' names are Swahili words: Simba ("Lion" or "Courageous Warrior"), Mufasa ("King"; in Manazoto rather than Swahili), Pumbaa ("Simpleton"), Nala ("Gift"), Rafiki ("Friend"), Shenzi ("Savage") and Banzai ("Skulk").
- Banzai counts for it twice as it's also a Japanese word which has different meanings depending on the context of the sentence, but which sometimes translates to "Forever", among other things, again depending on the context in which it's being used.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor/Self-Deprecation: Zazu starts to sing "It's a Small World". Scar freaks out and demands him to sing anything else but that. Even funnier, in the Broadway show, Zazu may sing "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast or "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" from Mary Poppins (two other Disney movies that also became successful Broadway musicals; they have all been "rival" shows at one time or another).
- In the Las Vegas production, he sings "Viva Las Vegas".
- 'Let it go' from Frozen is another possible one
- Bizarre Taste in Food: Timon and Pumbaa, with their taste for insects.
- Black and White Morality: A Disney hallmark after all...
- Admittedly, the hyenas (the main three) are classified on the Disney Wiki as "neutral".
- Bloodless Carnage:
- Mufasa's body, intentionally (it is a children's film).
- Scar and Simba duke it out with claws extended but neither sheds blood.
- Averted with Shenzi; when Simba slashes her face it leaves three clear and bloody marks.
- Acknowledged in the commentary in that the meat the hyenas pull from a zebra haunch looks closer in appearance to striped neckties than it does flesh, and there is no blood anywhere from the carcass.
- Blowing a Raspberry: Young Nala does this to Zazu behind his back during "I Just Can't Wait to Be King".
- Blunt "Yes":
Banzai: What were we supposed to do? Kill Mufasa?
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Scar could have avoided all this trouble if he had just killed Simba himself rather than sending him running off and delegating the killing to the incompetent hyenas, although that would have included the danger of him being seen or found out. More obviously, Scar telling Simba that he killed Mufasa, which gave Simba both the determination and the support of the pride that he needed to win.
- Book Ends: The film begins with Mufasa's cub Simba presented to the kingdom, and ends with Simba's cub similarly presented, both accompanied by the same song, "The Circle of Life".
- Bowled Over: We first see Timon and Pumbaa playing "bowling for buzzards".
- Brains: Evil; Brawn: Good: The strong and noble Mufasa, (and later Simba) vs. the Lean and Mean Scar. Subverted, seeing as Mufasa is for the most part smarter than Scar.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the middle of "Hakuna Matata", Timon and Pumbaa do this.
And I got down-hearted... Timon:
How did you feel? Pumbaa:
Every time that I— Timon:
[claps hands over Pumbaa's mouth
] HEY, PUMBAA! [looks right at the fourth wall
] Not in front of the kids
] Oh! Sorry.
- Simba gets in on the act a second later as he seems to give the fourth wall a puzzled Aside Glance in response to the above exchange.
- Break Up Make Up Scenario: Between Simba and Nala, when she confronts him about being the king.
- Briar Patching: Scar tempting Simba to visit the elephant graveyard.
- Brick Joke: Arguable, and possibly unintended. Early on, Scar said that he would be a monkey's uncle when Simba becomes king. Later, when Nala is looking for Simba after he's left for Pride Rock to become king, we have this conversation.
Nala: Have you guys seen Simba?
Timon: I thought he was with you.
Nala: He was, but now I can't find him. Where is he?
Rafiki: [chuckles] You won't find him here. The King has returned.
Nala: I don't believe it. He's gone back.
[looks up and sees Rafiki has disappeared]
Timon: Hey, what's going on here? Who's the monkey?
Nala: Simba's gone back to challenge Scar.
Pumbaa: Who's got a scar?
Nala: No, no, no. It's his uncle.
Timon: The monkey's his uncle?
Nala: No! Simba's gone back to challenge his uncle to take his place as king.
Timon and Pumbaa: (beat) Oh.
- Broken Aesop: In-universe. Simba's new lesson of "Hakuna Matata, forget your worries" results in him running from his problems and thus shirking his duty as king.
- Another in-universe, Rafiki teaches Simba that it's okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Simba thus decides to quit running and forgive himself before confronting Scar. Despite Simba's efforts to put his guilt behind him, Scar takes advantage of the fact that Nala, Sarabi, and the other lions still don't know the true circumstances of Mufasa's death to turn them against Simba, which quickly leads to Simba falling prey to his guilt once again. No one rallies behind him until Scar admits he killed Mufasa.
- Bros Before Hoes: Timon and Pumbaa are firm believers, which is why they're more than a little upset when Nala comes along to break up the trio.
- Butt Monkey:
- Zazu, who starts out as Mufasa's PR guy and constantly finds himself at the butt of Simba's antics. After Scar takes over, he is reduced to being nothing but a source of entertainment for Scar, and is almost eaten by the hyenas on several occasions.
- Another example is Banzai, who gets claw-marks and thorns in his butt.
- Cain and Abel: Mufasa and Scar.
- Carnivore Confusion: Solved by having Simba eating bugs, a Truth in Television since real lions are happy to eat them if necessary. Averted when Nala stalks and nearly kills Pumbaa, but then backs off when she has her reunion with Simba. With no recourse at all, the movie "solves" these troubling issues by Lampshading and then ignoring them.
Timon: Whoa, whoa! Time out! Let me get this straight. You [Simba] know her [Nala]. She knows you. Yet she wants to eat him [Pumbaa]. And everybody's okay with this? DID I MISS SOMETHING?!
- Cheated Angle: Pride Rock is always seen from the left to which the front is faced on the inside, except for three shots at the very beginning and five at the climax of the film.
- Chekhov's Gun: "Ha! Pinned ya!" Serves as a Something Only They Would Say moment later.
- Chekhov's Skill:
- Nala's trick flip that she uses every time she pins Simba. He finally learns it just in time to use it on Scar.
- He also recognizes her years later thanks to this trick.
- Timon and Pumbaa use the same moves they used to chase off the vultures to fight the hyenas during the final battle.
- Cheerful Child: Simba.
- Childhood Friend Romance: Simba and Nala.
- Circling Monologue: Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed circle the cubs and Zazu in the elephant graveyard, and Scar circles Simba while blaming him for Mufasa's death.
- Circling Vultures: Vultures swoop down on an exhausted Simba, but are dispersed by Timon and Pumbaa "bowling for buzzards".
- Cliff Stack: At least once, to great effect.
- Comically Missing the Point:
- Coming-of-Age Story
- Conspicuous CG: The wildebeest from the stampede were cel-shaded to avert this. Compared to other mixed CGI-in-handrawn-animation examples, this one still holds up pretty well after all these years.
- Continuity Snarl: Primarily from the obscure book series The Six New Adventures Of The Lion King, which came out after the first movie, but before Simba's Pride. The series added the character of Simba and Nala's son, a cub named Kopa, some other cub characters to Mufasa's original pride, the story of how Scar got his scar, as well as named Mufasa's parents and grandfather, and Scar before he got his scar. Since Kopa has since been Retconed into Kiara in Simba's Pride, the extent to which Six New Adventures is considered canon is hotly debated amongst some fans, and has resulted in much Wild Mass Guessing and cries of Fanon Discontinuity. Also, the animated series gave a different (and fairly moving) version of Timon and Pumbaa meeting than 1˝.
- Convection Schmonvection: The "Be Prepared" sequence seems to have happened in a lava hotspot.
- Convenient Cranny: As a cub Simba runs from the pride lands, hyenas on his tail, he squeezes through a tiny passageway. One of the hyenas swipes its claws where he vanished just moments before.
- The Coup: Mufasa is killed by Scar so he can become king. Simba eventually launches a counter-coup to regain his throne.
- Cradle of Loneliness: Simba briefly makes Mufasa's body cradle him just after Mufasa's death.
- Cruel and Unusual Death:
- Mufasa, when he is flung off the gorge cliff and plummets to the ground far below. It is unclear whether the fall killed him or – if initially surviving with major injuries – he was still (semi-)conscious when he is crushed repeatedly by the wildebeest stampede.
- Scar, although justice is served, it can still be seen as rather "cruel" when he is mauled by his former hyena stooges and concurrently burned to death.
- Crush Parade: Mufasa saves Simba from this, but gets knocked away. Simba looks on at the stampede in horror, but then Mufasa emerges and climbs up the cliff to meet Scar, who throws him off and sends him falling back down to it.
- Crying Wolf: Simba says to Scar, "Why should I believe you? Everything you ever told me was a lie."
- Cub Cues Protective Parent: Played with. The birdy boiler sends Zazu flying far enough to summon Mufasa on his own, and Simba's roar (?) helps Mufasa to zero in on his and Nala's location.
- Curse Cut Short: "Why do I always have to save your- AAAHHHH!"
- Cut Song: Several. A Dark Reprise of "Be Prepared", "Warthog Rhapsody" (an alternate Timon and Pumbaa song), "Thanks To Me" (the original version of "Be Prepared"), "The Lion in the Moon" (a lullaby sung by Sarabi), and "To Be King" (sung by Mufasa and cut because people thought James Earl Jones as a singing lion would be unintentionally funny). "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" was supposed to be in the movie in its entirety, but Timon and Pumbaa end up singing only a couple of lines of it during the final version.
- Dark Chick: Shenzi.
- Darker and Edgier: Compared to other Disney films of the period. It is, in fact, a very tense, pathos-filled drama rather than the usual fairy tale romantic comedy.
- Deadpan Snarker: Scar, Banzai, Timon, and Zazu.
- Demoted to Extra: Zazu in the second half.
- Desert Skull: As Simba returns to the Pridelands, he finds it riddled with wildebeest skeletons to show how Scar's rule has ruined the land. At the end, as Simba returns to power, there's a brief shot of a skull being washed away by the rain, to symbolize the end of the old regime.
- Deranged Animation: A vast majority of "I Just Can't Wait To Be King"'s backgrounds employ this.
- Disappointed In You:
Mufasa: You deliberately disobeyed me, and what's worse, you put Nala in danger!
Simba: I was just trying to be brave, like you.
Mufasa: I'm only brave when I have to be. Simba...being brave doesn't mean you go looking for trouble.
- Disney Acid Sequence: "I Just Can't Wait to Be King". Justified this time, because the sequence is supposed to capture Simba's perspective during the song.
- Disney Death: Averted. Mufasa is quite definitely dead.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- The Hyena Bites Back: Near the end, Scar attempts to pin everything on the hyenas not knowing that they're there listening to him say it.
My friends. Shenzi:
Friends? I thought he said we were the enemy.
- A Dog Named Dog: "Simba" means "lion" in Swahili.
- The Dragon: Shenzi. Quite possibly Dragon with an Agenda (see Better Living Through Evil above).
- Co-Dragons: Though Shenzi is the ringleader (as befitting their species), Banzai and Ed are her friends, and hence this.
- Dramatic Spotlight: On Simba, then Timon and Pumbaa, during the song "Hakuna Matata".
- Also Natural Spotlight on Pride Rock when cub Simba is shown to the masses. The sun's timing is impeccable.
- Dude, Not Funny!: An in-universe variation. Banzai is complaining about his injuries after the hyenas' scuffle with Mufasa, and Ed ticks Banzai off because he won't stop laughing.
Banzai: It's not funny, Ed.
(Ed tries briefly to stop before bursting out again)
Banzai: Hey, shut up!
- Related to that, when Banzai falls into the thorns, the other two laugh at him. When Banzai starts pulling them out, he spits a few into Ed's face. He doesn't dare spit any at Shenzi - she's his boss.
- Dynamic Entry: The hyenas chase Simba and Nala to a corner of the elephant graveyard. As they calmly close in for the kill, little Simba suddenly feels brave enough to "roar", which they find laughable. The second roar, however, is considerably more startling to them.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Simba finally becomes king of Pride Rock, is reunited with his mother, and gets to marry Nala and have a cub...but to get there he has to lose his father (right before his eyes), go into exile, face down his personal guilt and psychological demons, then stage a countercoup and take out his usurping uncle whose lies and manipulations were what put him through Mind Rape in the first place. In the process, not coincidentally, he is forced to mature a great deal and become a far wiser, humbler, more heroic character.
- Eccentric Mentor: Rafiki looks like a crazy old monkey, but has great wisdom (and kung-fu skills).
- Elephants' Graveyard: The base of operation for Scar and the home of the hyenas.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: What Scar offers to the hyenas.
- Epic Movie: Arguably Disney's most well known example from their animated films.
- The Epic: Essentially, this film is a straight up classical one.
- Et Tu, Brute?: This happens when Scar kills Mufasa.
- Euphemism Buster: Scar has to backtrack and Euphemism Bust himself thanks to dumb hyenas:
Yeah, be prepared! We'll be prepared! For what? Scar:
For the death of the king! Banzai:
What, is he sick
No, you fool, we're going to kill him. And Simba, too
- Evil Counterpart: Scar serves as this to Simba
- Evil Gloating: Scar admits to Simba that he killed Mufasa while he dangles him over Pride Rock. Of course, this backfires big time.
- Evil Is Burning Hot:
- Fires set the stage for Simba's final battle with Scar.
- Also, for some reason there's unexplained volcanic activity during "Be Prepared".
- Evil Is Petty: Scar can be considered absolute biggest scumbag of any Disney villain based solely on what he does and why: he murders his brother and guilt-trips his nephew so he can take over the pride land for really no other reason than to have the status of king. Likewise, once he is in power, he really doesn't do anything other than tell everyone else what to do, most of the time telling them to deal with their problems themselves, which, ironically, are all things the king is responsible for (i.e., food and safety). The only time Scar takes responsibility for anything he does is when he thinks he's about to kill Simba and confesses being Mufasa's murderer, assuming that he'll get away with it. When he doesn't, his first reaction is to blame the hyaenas.... until he's at their mercy, at which point they're his "friends". Indeed, there is no honor among criminals.
- Evil Will Fail: Even if Simba hadn't shown up and pulled a Rightful King Returns, Scar's rule over the lion pride would have collapsed anyway since he'd driven the pridelands to the point of ecological ruin.
- Falling in Love Montage: "Can you feel the love tonight?"
- Family-Unfriendly Death:
- Mufasa's death while his son watches, and Simba's repeated pleas for him to "wake up, Dad" while desperately nudging his corpse.
- The fight between Simba and Scar ends with Scar being eaten alive (or at the very least being mauled to death) by his hyena henchmen (cast in shadow, but still!). The sequel makes it even worse by implying that he might have been burned to death as well.
- Family-Unfriendly Violence: Scar and Simba's brief no-holds-barred beatdown, and Mufasa's death as implied (but not shown).
- Fisher King: When Mufasa is in charge, his wise leadership makes the land around Pride Rock a beautiful place of peace and plenty. When Scar is the king, the same land turns into a dark and dying graveyard, due to his poor leadership and the hyenas eating and taking almost everything there is, reflecting his own dark personality. Once Simba assumes the throne, everything goes pretty again.
- Floating Head Syndrome: Mufasa in the cineplex posters. This is a unique case of it pertaining to the events of the story.
- Follow the Leader: Many concepts, compositions and characters are notoriously similar to that of Osamu Tezuka's Kimba the White Lion. Whenever a member of The Lion King production team speaks on the matter, the claim is usually that they hadn't heard of Kimba. In the case of some individuals working on the film this may even be true, but to assert that no one one the film's huge production team had ever heard of Kimba is iffy at best. This is not helped by the fact that some early production reels depicted Simba as a white lion, and there are several claims of people on staff mistakenly calling the film a remake of Kimba, or calling Simba by that name.
- Forbidden Fruit: The elephant graveyard.
- Foreboding Fleeing Flock: Invoked when Scar has the hyenas cause a wildebeest stampede as a trap for both Simba and Mufasa.
- Foreshadowing: At the climax of "I Just Can't Wait to be King" when the tower of animals collapses, it can be interpreted as either Played for Laughs or foreshadowing how Simba's whole self-image is about to come crashing down thanks to Scar's frame-up.
- For The Cel Of It: The wildebeest from the stampede sequence are CGI, but cel-shaded to look like traditional animation.
- Frameup and False Confession: After Scar kills Mufasa, he gets Simba to believe he's responsible, leading to Simba's running away. Simba believes this until the Just Between You and Me moment in the final act, even to the point of confessing himself to his mother and the rest of the pride.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: There's a famous myth that the dust clouds form the letters SEX for a split second. They actually spell SFX.
- This bonus was removed from the Platinum edition DVD, Diamond Edition Blu-ray, and assumedly all subsequent releases of the film. It is referenced in the audio commentary, though.
- From a Certain Point of View: Almost nothing Scar says to Simba before or after the stampede is untrue, which has the dual effect of covering his ass and appealing to his twisted sense of humor.
"Simba, it's to die for."
"If it weren't for you, he'd still be alive."
"If it weren't for you, Mufasa would still be alive! Do you deny it?"
- Full Boar Action: Pumbaa, once his Berserk Button is pressed one time too many.
- Funny Background Event: Timon and Pumbaa swing on a vine in the background during young Simba's solo in "Hakuna Matata". Pumbaa does this at the beginning of the theme song in the TV series.
- Generational Saga: Mufasa tells Simba that even when he's gone he'll always be there in the sky with the great kings to look down on his son. Once he is gone, Simba abandons the Pride Lands to his uncle Scar, but after talking to his father in the sky he realizes that he needs to come home and be king.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- Gilligan Cut:
- Glad I Thought of It: "When he grows up, maybe he'll be on our side."
- Good Animals, Evil Animals: Subverted with lions and hyenas. Scar and Zira are the glaring exceptions to the former. On the other hand, no truly good hyenas have, to date, appeared in the films, although the TV Series implies that Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed settle for neutrality following the movie.
- The Good King: Mufasa. And Simba after his return to the Pridelands.
- G-Rated Sex: At the end of "Can You Feel The Love Tonight", confirmed by Disney itself. From the DVD audio commentary narrated by directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff and producer Don Hahn:
"This is probably the most steamy love scene in a Disney film ever!"
- All the more obvious in the original, pre-production version, where there's very little room for doubt.
- Hakuna Matata: Trope Namer.
- A Handful for an Eye: Right before their fight, Scar blinds Simba by kicking hot coals into his face.
- Hates Baths: Simba as a cub. He presumably grew out of it during his time with Timon and Pumbaa.
- Held Gaze: Simba and Nala gaze deeply into each other's eyes at the end of their Falling in Love Montage of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" before nuzzling each other in a manner that resembles a kiss.
- Heroic Second Wind: When Scar has Simba right where he wants him (desperately trying to keep his grip on the ledge of Pride Rock but about to fall off), and he admits that he killed Mufasa (in what he thinks will be a Just Between You and Me moment, before throwing Simba to his death) … Simba (who relives watching his father being thrown to his death in what could well be his final moments) instead lunges up the rest of the cliff, pinning his evil uncle and forcing him to reveal the truth to the others.
- He's a Friend: Simba to Nala for Timon, Pumbaa.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Timon and Pumbaa. Maybe.
- Hope Is Scary: One problem about getting Simba to come back.
- Humanlike Hand Anatomy: Rafiki has hands, understandably. Zazu has Feather Fingers and Timon has Humanlike Hand Anatomy, for some reason. And the lions have rather large thumbs on their front paws, with which they can sometimes make humanlike gestures.
- Hurricane of Puns:
- Zazu's morning report. The cut song has even more of them.
"Well, the buzz from the bees is that leopards are in a bit of a spot. The baboons are going ape... I told the elephants to forget it, but they can't
... Cheetahs never prosper
- Timon's line, "What's the motto with you?"
- In "I Just Can't Wait to be King", Simba does say that "I'm gonna be the mane event".
- Also, with the hyenas.
Banzai: We could have whatever's... lion around!
Shenzi: Wait wait wait. I got one. Make mine a cub sandwich. (Ed tries to get their attention) WHAT, ED?!
Banzai: Hey, did we order this dinner to go?
Shenzi: No. Why?
Banzai: 'Cause there it goes! (points to Simba, Nala, and Zazu running like crazy)
- Talks Like a Simile: In the same scene, Zazu tells Scar that "You'll lose more than that when the king gets through with you! He's as mad as a hippo with a hernia."
- The Hyena: A ton of them. Three main ones. Ed is the one that fits the trope the most.
Simba: You don't deserve to live.
Scar: But Simba...I am family.
- Idiotic Partner Confession: Provides the trope quote.
- Also happens when Mufasa confronts the hyenas.
Shenzi: Ohhhh, that's your son! This is your son, I didn't know he was your son. Did you, Banzai?
Banzai: No, I had no idea, did you?
Shenzi: No, of course not, no!
Ed: (grins and nods excitedly)
- If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Averted and invoked by Simba in his final fight with Scar.
- I'll Kill You!:
Shenzi: He's as good as dead out there anyway. And IF he comes back, we'll kill him.
Banzai: Yeah! D'you hear that? If you ever come back, we'll kill ya!
- I Kiss Your Foot: Pumbaa, after learning Simba is the king.
King? Your Majesty! I gravel
at your feet. (begins kissing Simba's paw
(pulling it away
) Stop that! Timon:
It's not gravel, it's grovel
- Interspecies Friendship/Odd Friendship:
- Mufasa with Zazu and Rafiki.
- Timon, Pumbaa, and Simba.
- Scar and the hyenas...until the end.
- Ironic Echo: "Run. Run away and never return."
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: The hyenas start out as this somewhat. Once Scar enlists them however they become a much bigger threat.
- Irony: The whole song "I Just Can't Wait to Be King". Turns out Simba could wait.
- I Was Beaten by a Girl: Simba is visibly frustrated at being handily pinned by Nala in their scraps. He uses this fighting tactic to recognise her as an adult, and later uses it against Scar.
- Just Between You and Me: Prompting Simba's Heroic Resolve / You Killed My Father reaction.
- Just Desserts: Happens to Scar.
- "Just So" Story: Timon's theory about how stars form was actually confirmed in The Princess and the Frog.
- Keet: Simba occasionally shows a bit of this as a cub. Also possibly as an adult, thanks to living with Timon and Pumbaa.
- Kill It with Fire: During the Hyenas' frenzied attack on Scar, they all appear to perish in the wildfire that surrounds Pride Rock.
- Killed Off for Real: Mufasa really was killed by Scar. And at the end, Scar is eaten alive by his former hench-hyenas. Given Scar's occasional cameos in the questionably-canon Timon and Pumbaa series, some fans think that he survived and is in hiding.
- King of Beasts: It is about lions.
- Knight of Cerebus: Scar. The film begins quite cheerful, but when Scar kills his own brother and takes the power, the film definitely becomes quite dark. He may be this to the whole franchise as he's the first Disney villain to successfully kill a main character.
- Large and In Charge: Mufasa.
- Large Ham: Scar and Timon.
- Late To The Realization: Zazu, even after being told by Mufasa to turn around, and obeying the order willingly, continues to ramble on before realizing that he's the target of Simba's pouncing lesson:
Sire, what is going on? Mufasa:
A pouncing lesson. Zazu:
Ah, very good... pouncing. (turns back, beat
) (realizes what he just said
Oh, no, sire - you can't be serious! Oh, this is so humiliating.
- Left Hanging: Although 'Hakuna Matata' vaguely explains why Pumbaa became an outcast, Timon's story was cut from the song for time. Both the TV series and the midquel offer different interpretations of it. Now, it's Pumbaa suffers this.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Pumbaa and Rafiki.
- Life Isn't Fair: Said by Scar in a creepy tone. It is the first spoken (not sung) sentence in the movie.
- Literal-Minded: Pumbaa.
Timon: Gee, he looks blue.
Pumbaa: I'd say brownish-gold.
- Love Redeems: Simba may have killed his father (or so he thought) and happily let the pride become a desert while he sings "Hakuna Matata", but he meets Nala again and returns.
- Love Theme: "Can You Feel the Love Tonight"
- Lying on a Hillside: Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa when stargazing.
- Magical Negro: Rafiki.
- Malaproper: Pumbaa, occasionally, for example saying "I gravel at your feet" instead of "grovel" and messing up Timon's saying "You've gotta put your past behind you" as "You gotta put your behind in your past". Timon corrects him both times.
- Meaningful Echo:
- "Run, Scar. Run away, and NEVER return."
- "Danger? Ha-ha! I walk on the wild side! I laugh in the face of danger!"
- The hyenas echo themselves at the end, but with a much darker overtone:
- Meaningful Name: Simba means lion in Swahili (and can also mean "courageous warrior"). Everybody else has a meaningful name too - it is even debated that 'Ed' is short for 'eddy', a word in English meaning 'whirlpool'.
- Medium Awareness:
Pumbaa: Every time that I—!
Timon: Hey Pumbaa! Not in front of the kids!
- Mighty Roar: Used a lot by the lions whenever they are about to do something awesome, though Simba as a cub can only give an anticlimatic meow (Truth in Television: lion cubs can't roar, only mewl adorably).
- Million Mook March: The goosestepping hyenas in "Be Prepared".
- Misplaced Wildlife: South American Giant Anteaters and Leaf Cutting Ants; all the other fauna is properly from central Africa. Also a reference to cacti, but considering that the term in question is "cactus butt" it probably just sounds funnier than "thorn butt".
- Mood Whiplash: Constantly. Perhaps most notably when we go from Mufasa and Simba's funeral and Rafiki crossing out Simba's outline to... bowling for buzzards! (the comic relief was badly needed after the past few minutes).
- More Than Mind Control: Timon and Pumbaa unwittingly sway the guilt-ridden Simba away from fulfilling his role in the Circle of Life by convincing him that nothing can be done about his trauma and indoctrinating him into their careless and slovenly "no worries" lifestyle to keep his mind off of the past and his duties. This has as much to do with his misplaced guilt as their influence.
- Mordor: The elephant graveyard. The Pride Lands start to resemble it during Scar's reign, partly because he can't be bothered to run it.
- Mouthy Kid: Simba. A lot. Too much.
- My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Following the Heroic Resolve above.
- Natural Spotlight: The king being held to the sky. There aren't even any clouds to justify the light slits.
- Never Say "Die": Averted. Multiple times. For example, "When we die our bodies become the grass", "I killed Mufasa" and several more. There's even a villain song about murdering the king!
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
- Scar is being challenged by Simba's return, but he makes the pride turn against Simba by making him still believe he caused Mufasa's death. As he drives Simba towards the cliff, he decides to give a Just Between You and Me speech in which he tells him what really happened. This helps Simba shake off his guilt, and he gets his Heroic Second Wind against Scar.
- Young Simba had a massive ego and believed that being King allows one to do anything they want. Unless Mufasa eventually curbed that trait, it's scary to imagine just how easily Simba could have become a tyrant. By destroying his life, Scar sets in motion the events that proceed to make Simba into a better person.
- The hyenas for breaking off the chase after Simba manages to lose them in the briar patch (Shenzi had a point that Simba probably wouldn't survive in the desert, although it was just an assumption). Needless to say, Scar pays for their lack of responsibility years later when Simba returns fully grown.
- Scar does it again in the finale when he hastily tries to save his own skin by shifting all the blame onto the hyenas... within their hearing. This makes the hyenas back off to make him fight Simba alone...and they maul him to death later.
- "No. Just... No" Reaction: Scar wants Zazu to sing him something happy sounding instead of the downtrodden depressing songs he's been singing him.
Scar: Come now, Zazu, sing something happy, with a little...Bounce!
Zazu: (deadpan) Iiiit's a Small World Aaaafter Aaaaall-
Scar: No, NO! ANYthing but that.
- Non Indicative Names: The hyena trio.
- No Ontological Inertia: Scar is killed and within what must be roughly a lion's gestation period note the Pridelands have gone from barren and burned back to Ghibli Hills.
- Not in Front of the Kid
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Let's see, Scar KILLS MUFASA, and is perfectly able to go toe-to-toe with Simba in the climax. A bit out of place considering that he groans about getting the brains and none of the brawn in the beginning, but makes some sense when you consider that Simba has apparently lived only on insects and has been in a total of one fight (that he lost). This plot point makes even more sense when taking into account Scar's original character design as a much more bulky and brawny lion.
- Not So Different: Simba as a kid has the mentality that when they become king, they could do anything they want and no-one would be able to stop them (although when young Simba says this, Mufasa immediately advises him against this). Scar later says the exact same thing.
- Odd Name Out: On a grand scale. All members of the main cast have African names (except Scar). (Scar's real name is Taka, which means "trash"). The only one to have a more European sounding name is Ed. He also seems to be mentally challenged.
- As mentioned in Bilingual Bonus, Banzai's name is also a Japanese word, though it's possible the writers either didn't know, didn't care, or just decided to Throw It In anyway because most people wouldn't care even if they noticed since the film was set in the African savannah and jungles.
- Oh, Crap:
- Simba, as he first sees the stampede heading straight for him. One of the rare examples of this not being played for laughs at all, but instead for a dark kind of awesomeness.
- Pumbaa, complete with Screams Like a Little Girl, when he happens to spot Nala lining up for a pounce - on him.
- Also, said mooks after realizing why calling Pumbaa a pig wasn't the smartest thing to do.
- Scar, first when Simba returns to reclaim his rightful place on the throne, and later realizing he's about to be killed by his former mooks.
- Oddly this was just after provoking one onto them, giving them a Death Glare when he realized they hadn't finished Simba off.
- Prior to this, after smacking Sarabi to the ground for mentioning Mufasa in his presence, he notices a very angry looking Simba watching above. Punctuated since he actually thought it was Mufasa himself at first.
- Mufasa, when he realizes his son is in the middle of a wildebeest stampede, as well as, in his last moments of life, realizing how insane, dangerous, and power-hungry his brother really is.
- The hyenas when they realized that Mufasa arrived.
- Before that, after Simba confidently laughs in the face of danger, he gets this reaction after he hears danger (i.e. the hyenas) laugh back.
- And when Simba says to the hyenas, "Pick on someone your own size!" to which Shenzi responds, "Like...you?" and Simba gets this reaction and says, "Oops."
- Orphaned Etymology: Scar uses several turns of phrase reliant on modern society, such as the "shallow end of the gene pool" or "the lights are not all on upstairs."
- Pain-Powered Leap: Banzai the hyena jumps about 30 feet into the air after he is knocked into a bramble thicket by the other hyenas.
- Pale Females, Dark Males: Nearly all the lionesses are lighter compared to the lions, except Sarabi.
- Papa Wolf: Mufasa.
- Perma Stubble: All male hyenas have dark patches around their muzzles that look remarkably like stubble. It's one of the few things that distinguish them from the females. In The Lion King 1˝, there is another female hyena — you can tell because she has no stubble and a thick tuft of fringe.
- Pick on Someone Your Own Size: Simba yells this at the hyenas when they start picking on Zazu. Turns out, it wasn't a very good idea.
- Please Wake Up: In one of the most heartbreaking examples, Simba does this to Mufasa shortly after he dies. It even provides the trope image!
- Pop-Star Composer: Elton John.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Long live the king".
- Princeling Rivalry: Mufasa as the strong first born, and Scar as the smart, plotting second born who has been jealous of Mufasa for some time. He doesn't begin his betrayal in earnest until after Mufasa's son is born. Scar murders Mufasa and attempts to kill Simba, Mufasa's child son. Simba lives and leads a charge to defeat Scar in his adult years.
- Prodigal Hero: The film follows this with Simba, invoking Rightful King Returns since he was royalty before fleeing.
- Punch Clock Villain: Although they have a grudge against the lions, the hyenas are primarily in this just for the food.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
- As Scar is about to throw Mufasa to the stampede, he delivers the line "Long. Live. The king."
- When he has Simba in a similar situation towards the end of the movie, he whispers "I. Killed. Mufasa."
- Pumbaa's Pre Ass Kicking One Liner in response to Banzai calling him a pig. "They! Call! Me! MIS-ter Pig!"
- Scar again, when Simba has him cornered towards the end of the movie. "(Panting) But Simba, I... am... err, family!"
- Putting on the Reich: The hyenas goose-stepping in grid formations. The animators based the sequence on The Triumph Of The Will. On top of that, Scar's rhetoric is right out of Hitler's mouth:
Scar: I will be king! Stick with me, and you'll NEVER GO HUNGRY AGAIN!!!
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: The hyena trio. Although they're unusually frightening, effective villains for this trope.
- Rage Against the Mentor/Rage Against the Heavens: Simba briefly has this towards his dead father, before it turns into rage against himself.
Simba: You said you'd always be there for me! But you're not. It's because of me. It's my fault. It's my fault.
- Ragtag Band of Misfits: The group to take back the Pride Lands: Simba, Nala, Timon, Pumbaa and eventually Rafiki.
- Recycled In Space: IT's based on Hamlet.
- Redemption in the Rain: It's raining when Simba climbs Pride Rock at the end. A clear case of the rain being "purifying" and symbolizing new life, as the sequence includes a gazelle's skull being dislodged and washed away.
- The Renaissance Age of Animation
- The Resenter: The hyenas, toward the lions, and viceversa. Scar also resents his brother.
- Ribcage Ridge: The elephant graveyard.
- Rule of Cool: The ground rising up beneath Scar in the last part of "Be Prepared" doesn't really make any sense, but looks awesome.
- Rule of Symbolism: There are quite a number of Christian parallels, which is unsurprising considering lions being associated with God and Jesus for centuries. There's Simba's apparent resurrection—Nala says to him "It's like you're back from the dead" and is informed "The King has returned" in a manner rather reminiscent of Mary Magdalene in the garden with the open tomb, and both Scar and Sarabi think he is his father come back from the dead. There's the Fisher King analogy, with Simba's fight with Scar being easily related to Jesus combating Satan after his Second Coming. There's Simba's anointment by Rafiki, his reluctance to do his father's will, and Mufasa's divine image declaring Simba his son and the true king.
- An example without the religious undertones, but still fraught with portent: the image of Simba's little paw stepping into his father's huge pawprint, the one he must one day fill as king. And in the end, he does.
- Running Gag: Simba's complete inability to beat Nala in a fight. It's even given a Continuity Nod in the sequel.
- Considering that lionesses are the ones to hunt unless they're fighting much larger prey, this can also fall under Fridge Logic.
- To be precise, Nala is simply much better at wrestling and flipping than he is (she needs to be; that's how lionesses deal with most of the prey they can't knock silly). On the other hand, if Simba used the Truth in Television method of smashing opponents in the face with heavy, clubbing blows, like he did with Scar, he could easily knock her silly (as seen when Scar hits Sarabi). But for Simba to whack around a girl who's his best friend is just… wrong, not to mention that neither has ever fought each other with the desire to kill.
- Scared of What's Behind You: When the hyenas corner Simba, they encourage him to try to roar. He does, and it's a fearsome lion's roar. It's actually Mufasa.
- Scenery Porn: Especially during "The Circle of Life".
- Lampshaded when Simba gets a good look at Timon and Pumbaa's jungle. "It's beautiful!"
- Second Coming: Simba returning to his home to take his place as king.
- Seldom Seen Species: Several, most famously Timon the meerkat. Most people in the Americas had no idea what a meerkat was before this film was released.
- Sequel Hook: The birth and presentation of Simba and Nala's cub at the end.
- To In the Heat of the Night:
- There's a more subtle one as well: Timon riding Pumbaa out of a desert mirage in a manner very reminiscent of Don Quixote.
- The method Scar uses to assassinate Mufasa is identical to that which Mowgli used to kill Shere Khan in The Jungle Book.
- All the visual Shout Outs to Kimba the White Lion, including how Scar, Rafiki and Zazu are Expies of some of Kimba's cast with their own unique attributes. Unfortunately, as Disney stubbornly states that they're mere coincidences, there's a very large segment of Kimba Fan Dumb that scream Lion King ripped off Kimba, despite Kimba being more like a more idealistic Animal Farm in the African jungle and having greedy humans as a main antagonist, while The Lion King is Hamlet with lions and completely lacks any human presence.
- During the song "Be Prepared", two hyenas wave skeletons of creatures, creating shadow images of them "dancing" that imitate the dancing skeletons from "Night on Bald Mountain", right down to the curving, "noodly" movements.
- Shown Their Work: Yes, lion cubs can and do eat bugs, and live off them if necessary. (Though it's much more of a stretch to imagine an adult lion living off them). Also, the fight between Simba and Scar (rearing up and furiously cuffing each other) is based off of how male lions actually fight, as their manes provide some protection to the neck.
- Sickly Green Glow: The song "Be Prepared".
- Sidekick Song: "Hakuna Matata".
- Sketchy Successor: After Mufasa is killed, Scar takes over, and promptly turns the Ghibli Hills savannah into a desolate ruin. The Lion King is, according to Word of God, based off Hamlet.
- Slasher Smile: One of the hyenas during Scar's final scene, complete with Blank White Eyes.
- Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: Animals are anthropomorphised to varying extents. This even varies with animals of the same species — compare Timon with the meerkats that appear in the opening of "Circle of Life".
- The Smurfette Principle: Nala and Sarabi are the only female protagonists. Nala is there as the Token Romance while Sarabi is Simba's mother. Somewhat balanced out by having Shenzi as a prominent villainess.
- Something Only They Would Say: A non-verbal example occurs when Simba first encounters Nala as an adult. When she uses her trademark flip-and-pin move on him, he realizes her identity.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Is Pumba(a)'s name spelled with one or two A's? Official media uses "Pumbaa".
- Spirit Advisor: Simba was unsure of what to do, and then saw an ominous Musafa in the sky, saying "Remember who you are".
- Stars Are Souls: Simba says he was taught that the stars are the spirits of the old kings, which gets a confirmation when he later receives a starry vision of his father. Timon, on the other hand, claims that stars are fireflies that got stuck in the sky. That also got confirmed...by The Princess and the Frog.
- Strange Minds Think Alike:
Simba: When I'm king, what does that make you?
Scar: A monkey's uncle.
Nala: No, no, no, it's his uncle.
Timon: The monkey's his uncle?
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion:
Pumbaa: And I got down-hearted...
Timon: How did you feel?!
Pumbaa: Every time that I—
Timon: Hey, Pumbaa! Not in front of the kids!
- Sustained Misunderstanding:
Nala: Have you guys seen Simba?
Timon: I thought he was with you.
Nala: He was but now I can't find him. Where is he?
Rafiki: [chuckles] You won't find him here. The King has returned.
Nala: I don't believe it. He's gone back.
[looks up and sees Rafiki has disappeared]
Timon: Hey, what's going on here? Who's the monkey?
Nala: Simba's gone back to challenge Scar.
Pumbaa: Who's got a scar?
Nala: No, no, no. It's his uncle.
Timon: The monkey's his uncle?
Nala: No! Simba's gone back to challenge his uncle to take his place as king.
Timon and Pumbaa: (beat) Oh.
- Tastes Like Chicken: Timon eating a grub as big as himself in the middle of "Hakuna Matata".
- Terrible Trio: We have Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed, minions to Scar. Shenzi, the female, is the leader and the smart one, Banzai appears to think entirely with his muscles, and Ed is either insane, retarded or faking it.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Shenzi — her eye patches are shaped like heavily applied eyeshadow, her mane extends to having bangs and a fringe, and she lacks the Perma Stubble that both Banzai and Ed sport. Well, you have to be able to tell her from the guys somehow...
- That Man Is Dead:
Nala: What's happened to you? You're not the Simba I remember.
Simba: You're right, I'm not! Are you satisfied?
- That Reminds Me of a Song: We all know someone who feels "Morning Report" was an unneeded addition to the film, since the movie didn't have it originally. It isn't a terrible song, nor completely irrelevant (it's in the stage versions of the movie, too). It didn't exactly advance the plot or provide much (if any) character development, but it was intended to be in the original production (and is in the Special Edition).
- They Call Me Mister Tibbs: When Simba says "Banana Beak is scared", Zazu says "It's MISTER Banana Beak to you, fuzzy!"
- Pumbaa does NOT like being called a "pig", and when the hyenas do so towards the end, he says "They call me MISTER PIG!" before kicking their butts.
- They Died Because of You: Right after murdering Mufasa, Scar tells Simba that he's responsible for Mufasa's "accidental" death.
- Think of the Censors: "Pumbaa! Not in front of the kids!"
- This Bear Was Framed: Scar uses stampeding wildebeests to murder Mufasa — an odd example of an animal using other animals to make the murder of another animal look like an (accidental) animal attack.
- This Cannot Be!: "Mufasa? No. You're dead."
- That's subverted; we know Scar's right about that. Earlier in the film, he shoved his brother to his death. He just said that because he mistook Simba for Mufasa until he revealed who he really was to his mother.
- This Is Gonna Suck: After Simba gets busted by his dad at the elephant graveyard, Mufasa says that he needs to teach his son a lesson, and Simba cowers. Simba hesitates coming to his father's side, earning himself a First Name Ultimatum for his troubles.
- This Is Unforgivable!: Simba says "You don't deserve to live" to Scar as soon as he corners him after hitting him with a "Murderer" to which Scar had responded with "Simba, Simba, please. Please have mercy. I beg you."
- Those Two Guys: Timon and Pumbaa.
- Tomboy Princess: 90's-era Disney movies were known for these, and Nala is arguably the best example.
- Too Dumb to Live: Timon, Pumbaa, Zazu and the hyenas all show this at one point or another. Later in the film Scar really shouldn't have lied to Simba about Mufasa's death by blaming it on the hyenas. He pays for it dearly.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: Several times.
- Two Act Structure: The first half of the movie is about Simba's childhood and Scar's plot to become King. The second half is adult Simba coming to terms with his guilt and grief and deciding to reclaim his throne from Scar. The musical similarly follows this thread by ending Act 1 with Hakuna Matata and the reveal of Adult Simba.
- The Unintelligible: Ed the Hyena, although this trope uses laughter instead of the usual mumbling.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Timon and Pumbaa, depending on your personal interpretation.
- Vegetarian Carnivore: A young Simba turns insectivore at the behest of his two animal friends.
- Vertigo Effect: During the wildebeest stampede.
- Villain Song: "Be Prepared" (also a Villain Recruitment Song for the hyenas).
- Vine Swing: Simba does this a few times.
- Walk Into Camera Obstruction: During the song "I Just Can't Wait to be King" where the giraffes are throwing Simba and Nala, Simba's stomach fills up the screen.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: In an interesting variation, Simba becomes this for the second half of the movie. Although anything but an emotionally distant father, Mufasa is often preoccupied with the duties of the throne, and little Simba certainly sees him as a hero, worshiping the ground his paws tread upon◊. But there is no indication Simba ever doubts he has his father's love or respect...until Scar convinces him he is to blame for his father's death. Then, overcome with remorse and believing no one could ever forgive him, he voluntarily goes into exile. It is Mufasa's ghost, reminding him of his place in the Circle and telling him "You are my son and the one true king," that sets him back on the right path again. And with a simple, single word, "Remember..." he lets his son know he is very proud of him indeed.
- Wham Line: "Long live the king." And with that, Scar becomes the first Disney Villain to kill a major character on-screen, crossing the Moral Event Horizon, and the story becomes far more serious from then on.
- What's a Henway?: This bit from "Hakuna Matata":
Pumbaa: It's our motto!
Simba: What's a motto?
Timon: Nothing, what's a-motto with you?
- What Song Was This Again?: "Be Prepared" gets changed a lot in foreign language dubs.
- A World Half Full: An excellent example given how dark some of the film can be. Simba loses his father and is convinced by his uncle that it was his fault. He goes into exile for many years but eventually overcomes his guilt and goes back to depose his uncle and take his place. He ends up triumphing and everything his uncle ruined begins to come back together.
- Would Hit a Girl: Scar backhands Sarabi to the ground when she says he isn't half the king Mufasa was.
- Would Hurt a Child:
- Scar: His ruthlessness shows by putting the cub Simba in extreme danger twice. He tricks him into the gorge below Pride Rock, before sending – with the hyenas' help – a stampede of wildebeests through. Mufasa is able to rescue Simba. Later, as a mourning Simba is exiled from the Pride Lands following his father's death – Scar had convinced his nephew that the death was his fault – Scar sends the hyenas after the cub; Simba's death here is averted as he makes his getaway.
- Also, the hyenas, aware of who Simba is, corner the young cub and Nala after the two young lions wander onto the elephant graveyards. Mufasa shows up to run off the hyenas.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: A talent of Scar's although he ultimately does it a little too much.
- X Meets Y: The movie was called during production, and is still sometimes called 'Bambi meets Hamlet with Lions in Africa' (or alternatively, 'Bambi meets Hamlet meets Kimba').
- You Killed My Father: "Murderer!"
- Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb: Simba and Nala going to the Elephants' Graveyard.