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Disney / Lambert the Sheepish Lion

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A Disney animated short released in 1952. It was conceived by Bill Peet and is narrated by Sterling Holloway.

Lambert, a lion cub, is mistakenly delivered in a flock of sheep by a stork. He is taken in by an ewe after none of the delivered lambs choose her to be their mother. Lambert lives his life thinking he is a sheep until he is forced to unlock his true nature to defend the flock from an attack by a hungry wolf.

On a trivia note, the original print of the film was given as a gift to Emperor Hirohito of Japan because it was reportedly his favorite Disney cartoon.

This short provides examples of:

  • Adult Fear: Quite a bit in one short:
    • Having your child taken away from you.
    • Having your child bullied due to being adopted.
    • Being viciously attacked in front of your child.
    • Having your parent attacked in front of you and everyone (including yourself) being too afraid to help.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: The other sheep make fun of Lambert, until his size and lionish aggression save the day. Imitating the Trope Namer was a common theme in writer Bill Peet's work.
  • Badass Unintentional: Lambert is unaware that he's a lion until the wolf forces him to unleash his inner lion.
  • Berserk Button: Lambert works up the nerve to scare off the wolf when it threatens his mother.
    Narrator: But when he saw the wolf approach
    And heard his mother cryin'
    Something snapped inside of him
    He was a raging lion!
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Lambert is very gentle and "sheep"-like, but when he needs to defend his flock, he unleashes his inner lion.
  • Butt-Monkey: Lambert, initially. He is repeatedly mocked and humiliated by the sheep of the flock, even as an adult.
  • Cowardly Lion: Literally. Lambert is a scaredy cat and runs away at the first sign of danger. Until he realizes that he's a lion, that is.
  • Delivery Stork: A delivery mistake sent Lambert the Lion to a sheep farm alongside other baby lambs. note 
  • Disney Villain Death: Subverted, surprisingly enough. Lambert apparently headbutts the wolf off a cliff and to his doom. The narrator reveals at the end that the Wolf's alive, stuck on a branch with berries for food. However...
  • Fate Worse than Death: The Wolf is a vicious predator now trapped with a tiny bit of fruit unable to move lest he die. The narrator also notes that the berries only grow there every spring.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: The first-person perspective shots of the wolf coming to attack the sheep, which is Stock Footage from Disney's version of Peter and the Wolf.
  • Gentle Giant: Despite being a gigantic lion, Lambert is one of the sweetest creatures around.
    Narrator: "Isn't he HUGE?!"
  • Interspecies Adoption: Lambert is a lion who was raised by a sheep.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The other lambs are not at all kind to Lambert once they find out he cannot baa.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Lambert is cowardly and sheepish, but once his mother is in danger he realizes what it means to be a lion and fights the wolf.
  • Mighty Roar: Lambert lets one out once he realizes he's a Lion.
  • Mama Bear: When The Stork tries to take Lambert back, his mother attacks the stork, causing him to back down and allow her to raise the lion as her own.
  • Momma's Boy: Lambert is very protective of his mother, and becomes the King of Beasts he is when he realizes that his mother is in danger.
  • Nurture over Nature: Zig-zagged. At first, there is absolutely nothing predatory about Lambert, because he was raised as a sheep. However, when roused by a call for help from his mother, the only one who ever treated him kindly, he becomes a rampaging predator. But even in the midst of his roaring charge, with fangs bared and claws unsheathed, he still ends up attacking sheep-style - by headbutting the wolf.
  • Oblivious Adoption: Lambert doesn't realize that he's not a sheep. Everyone else, however, does.
  • Offscreen Inertia: The Wolf is stuck on a branch on the cliff at the end. Lampshaded by the narrator.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Wolf once he realizes he's just ticked off a very angry Momma's Boy.
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Parents in Distress: It's his adoptive mother being in danger that unlocks Lambert's true nature.
  • Raised by Wolves: Or rather, sheep.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The narration and dialogue rhyme most of the time.
  • Role Reprisal: Sterling Holloway, the voice of the Delivery Stork in Dumbo, reprises the role for the Stork's cameo appearance here.
  • Savage Wolves: The villain is a wolf trying to eat all the sheep.
  • Shout-Out: The story is obviously inspired by an oft-paraphrased line from Isaiah 11:6note , which is often quoted as "the lion and the lamb shall lay down togetherů"
  • Stock Scream: The wolf bellows the Goofy Holler when Lambert headbutts him off the cliff.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Lambert spends most of his time as a meek and harmless lion. During the climax, he unleashes his inner beast and fights off the Wolf.
  • Use Your Head: Lambert headbutts the wolf into a cliff in the film's climax.