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'Til we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life

"Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba note 
Sithi uhm ingonyama." note 
isiZulu chorus, "Circle of Life"
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Released in 1994, and to date, the fourth most financially successful film in the Disney Animated Canonnote ; 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 into believing he set into motion the events that led to the death of his father, Mufasa, who is the Pride Land's ruler. 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's treacherous and iron-pawed rule.

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A plot described by some as Hamlet, Macbeth and (debatably) the Malian epic Sundiata Keita, with a few hints of Henry IV, but with Talking Animals. The sequels seem to follow the Shakespearean trend, as The Lion King II: Simba's Pride is Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth With Talking Animals In Africa, and The Lion King 1½ resembles Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (a Perspective Flip of Hamlet, written in the 1960s).

The original film's success led to a massive franchise that includes two TV series, a video game for Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo, and the third-longest running and the highest-grossing Broadway musical of all time. It remains one of Disney's biggest animated cash cows to this day; in 2011, The Lion King received a re-release in Disney Digital 3D, which became 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.

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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.

In mid-late 2016, hot off the success of their live-action/CGI hybrid remake of The Jungle Book, Disney and Jon Favreau announced a photorealistic computer-animated remake of The Lion King, released on July 19, 2019. That film has since become the highest-grossing animated film of all time, proving the reigning popularity of this franchise.


This film provides examples of:

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    #-C 
  • 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.
  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The wildebeest from the stampede are computer-generated but were cel-shaded to make them less obvious. Compared to other mixed CGI-in-hand-drawn-animation examples, this one still holds up pretty well after all these years.
  • Actor Allusion: When Scar says "You have no idea," in response to Simba telling him he's weird, it's said with the exact same intonation as when Claus von Bülow says it in Reversal of Fortune. Both characters were played by Jeremy Irons.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: During their love song, Simba playfully pulls Nala into the river. She emerges gasping, as Simba grins at her. Then she smirks and pushes him back into the water.
  • 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.
  • African Chant: The intro is probably the most famous example of the trope in all of media.
  • Age Cut: Done during "Hakuna Matata" as Simba, Pumbaa and Timon are walking across a log and we see Simba change from a cub into an adult.
  • All Monks Know Kung-Fu: Rafiki, who is the animal kingdom's equivalent of a religious, breaks out the martial arts moves during the final battle against Scar and the hyenas.
  • Alternate Animal Affection: Rubbing heads, crossing necks, and a lick on the cheek.
  • 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, at least across the whole current Holocene epoch (or even the very late Pleistocene, since the glaciers never reached Africa). The story does not feature any humans or even reference their presence, only animals in the wild, so there's hardly anything within the setting that could ever became dated.
    • In Hercules, during one short scene, Hercules wears a lion skin that looks exactly like Scar (including the eye scar and the fur color). However, it is rather more a tribute to the film, like Disney films often do to each other. Even within the Disney Canon continuity, there is very little chance the rug is Scar's skin, because he was mauled to death by the hyenas and burned alive, so the skin would have borne marks of this.
    • The total absence of any human activity (even the slightest trail of a share taxi or cattle moves) and additional material suggesting the characters aren't even certain that humans exist, indicates that the film probably takes place at a time before Homo sapiens settlements became widespread in Africa but during which animals such as the Elephant had reached their modern-day stage of evolution, likely mid-Pleistocene epoch. At the very least, the story takes place either before colonialism and African modern period; either in a (not far) future post Humanity's Wake. In the second case, Pridelands Kingdom would be the result of evolution of animals rebuilding a rudimentary civilisation.
    • Further muddying this is the spin-off series Timon & Pumbaa, which itself is a bit ambiguous with its time period, characters traveling around the world and meeting humans of present days, with an episode explicitly featuring Oprah Winfrey Show, whereas another seems to happen during some Ancient Rome Ludi. The whole series being a parody, none of theses indications should be considered canon.
  • Amusing Injuries:
    • Zazu being launched high into the air by a geyser. It's even called the "Birdie Boiler." Zazu gets by with nary a ruffled feather.
    • Banzai falling into a thorn pit. Shenzi and Ed find it funny enough, with Shenzi even calling him "cactus butt" as he plucks thorns out of himself.
    • Rafiki hitting Simba on the head with his stick. This one's justified as Rafiki didn't want to hurt Simba, just knock some sense into him
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: A subtle one during Scar's "Be Prepared" song: Scar has his hyena lackeys march by the platform he is standing on in parade lines, which in itself helps establish him as a merciless tyrant. Throw in that the Hyenas are doing their own version of Goose-stepping and you have some really fascist vibes that make it clear that Scar being the king would be anything but beneficial to the Pridelands.
  • Animals Not to Scale: During the "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" scene, a group of animals trample Zazu that are absolutely not in scale with each other; there is a gorilla about the same size as an elephant, and a rhino that is smaller than a zebra, among others.
  • Animal Stampede: In one of the film's most iconic scenes, young Simba gets in the way of a wildebeest stampede in a gorge that was started by the hyenas startling the wildebeest. Mufasa comes to rescue his son, only to be killed when his treacherous brother Scar pushes him back into the gorge.
  • Animal Talk: All animals seem to understand each other, regardless of species.
  • Animated Outtakes: For the Blu-ray release, the animators (though apparently, not the same animators who worked on the film) made a short blooper reel. Most memorably, the "Rafiki drops infant Simba" gag, already overdone in various parodies, was officially done. Many of the outtakes were designed around voice acting errors.
  • 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 relatively early in the first act, and the last two are right before and during the film's climax.
    • "Remember who you are." by Mufasa
    • "It is time." by Rafiki
  • Armor-Piercing Question: The look on Simba's face says it all.
    Simba: [annoyed by Rafiki] Who are you?
    Rafiki: The question is, who are you?
    Simba: [beat] I thought I knew. Now I'm not so sure.
  • Armor-Piercing Response:
    Nala: You're not the Simba I remember.
    Simba: You're right. I'm not. Now are you satisfied?
    Nala: No. Just disappointed.
    Simba: You know, you're starting to sound like my father.
    Nala: Good. At least one of us does.
  • 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: I can't marry her! She's my friend!
    Young Nala: Yeah! It'd be too weird!
  • Art Shift: The backgrounds for the "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" number are given a more stylized, colorful appearance, in contrast to the more realistic ones seen throughout the rest of the film.
  • Artistic Licence - Geography: The film appears to take place in a mythologized version of the Serengeti/Mara, which is located in northern Tanzania and western Kenya, and most of the names are Swahili, a language spoken throughout East Africa. However, the song lyrics, when not in English, are in Zulu, which is spoken in South Africa. This is the equivalent of scoring a film set in Spain with songs sung in Russian. The only exception is "Hakuna matata", which is also Swahili. (This is further muddled by a couple of frames during "Circle of Life" that show Mt. Kilimanjaro (located about 194 miles to the east of the Serengeti) and what appears to be the panhandle of the Okavango River (in northern Botswana).)
  • Artistic License – Biology: See here.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: A two-person variation.
    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 is 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.
  • "Aww"-choo: Baby Simba sneezes in a cute way when Rafiki sprinkles powder on him.
  • Babies Ever After: Simba and Nala's cub appears in the final scene, hoisted by Rafiki as Simba was.
  • 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...
  • Bad Vibrations: The stampede is signaled by a group of pebbles beginning to shake.
  • 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.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Simba and the lionesses get malnourished from living off of bugs, and lack of prey respectively. None of them are shown with ribs or any other visual indicator of this. The hyenas, while probably not beautiful to most, are also malnourished without showing it. Scar may or may not be also. While he's the king, he probably has first access to what little food they have.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • "Oh I just can't wait to be king!". Simba probably forgot that his succession implies his father's death. However, one can argue that Mufasa could have abdicated in his old age. In the context of the film, "to be king" should rather be interpreted as a metaphor of "adulthood".
    • A minor one goes to the hyenas, who despised Mufasa, and eagerly (and blindly) supported Scar's quest to kill him and take over the Pridelands. Before very long, they have hunted everything into nothingness, the herds have abandoned the place entirely, the riverbed has dried up, and the place is very much a wasteland. Growing restless, they constantly confront Scar on the lack of food in the kingdom, and the most Scar does is level blame on either them or the lionesses, forcing the hyenas to question what they signed on for.
      Banzai: And I thought things were bad under Mufasa!
  • Bedouin Rescue Service: Timon and Pumbaa save Simba from dying in the desert and being eaten by the Circling Vultures.
  • Better Living Through Evil: While Scar sings about gaining power, the hyenas sing only about getting food:
    "We'll have food! Lots of food! We repeat! Endless meat!"
  • Beware the Skull Base: The Elephant Graveyard has several massive skulls of elephants strewn about, which are used as shelters by the hyenas that reside there.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Both sides of the final battle display this—on Scar's side, the hyenas prove themselves to be viciously brutal killers. On Simba's side, Rafiki shows that you shouldn't judge him based on his age while Timon, Pumbaa and Zazu manage to beat up Shenzi and Banzai offscreen.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Mufasa arrives just in time to rescue Simba and Nala when the hyenas finally have them cornered in the Elephant Graveyard.
    • Timon and Pumbaa have this as an Establishing Character Moment. Just as Simba is about to be eaten by vultures, they charge through and save him, though at first they think he's dead.
    • Nala attacks Pumbaa in the forest and almost eats him and Timon but is stopped when Simba suddenly arrives to save them, pouncing on her and managing to pin her for a moment. Zigzagged as Simba ultimately lost the ensuing fight and could have been killed had he not recognized Nala, but despite his defeat he still managed to save his friends.
    • In the final battle, Rafiki whacks a hyena biting Simba's neck. Then Pumbaa pulls a One-Man Army charge on Shenzi and Banzai to save Timon and Zazu just as the two are cornered.
  • Big Damn Reunion: Simba and Nala coincidentally meet again as adults and have a joyous reunion, particularly from Nala's point of view as she had thought Simba was dead.
  • Big Gulp: The hyenas when a returning Simba earns them a Death Glare from Scar.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Twice by Simba. As a kid when Mufasa dies, and as an adult when he 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". (Well, technically, it means "You are a DOG, and I'm not," but the sentiment's the same.)
    • Most of the characters' names are Swahili words: Simba ("Lion" or "Courageous Warrior"), Pumbaa ("Simpleton"), Nala ("Gift"), Rafiki ("Friend"), Shenzi ("Savage") and Banzai ("Skulk").
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: 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", and the touring production has, naturally, also used "Let It Go."
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: Timon and Pumbaa's taste for insects is shown to be weird (though Justified considering their species).
  • Black-and-White Morality: A Disney hallmark after all. Every hyena is bad while the lions (save for Scar) and the others animals are good.
  • Bloodless Carnage:
    • Mufasa's body, despite being trampled by a stampede, is almost intact.
    • Scar and Simba duke it out with claws extended, but neither actually sheds blood, aside from a very quick "spray" from Simba's muzzle after taking a hit, though it could be saliva or sweat. Simba wins the fight by knocking Scar off a cliff.
    • Averted with Shenzi; when Simba slashes her face to protect Nala, it leaves three small but 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?
    Scar: Precisely.
  • 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.
  • Bookends: 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", ending with a snap to the title. This not only drives home the song's meaning, but also the idea of a story arc coming full circle.
  • 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.
    Scar: Well, as far as brains go, I got the lion’s share. But, when it comes to brute strength [looking at Mufasa] …I’m afraid I’m at the shallow end of the gene pool.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • In the middle of "Hakuna Matata", Timon and Pumbaa do this.
      Pumbaa: And I got downhearted...
      Timon: How did you feel?
      Pumbaa: Every time that I—
      Timon: [claps hands over Pumbaa's mouth] PUMBAA! [looks right at the fourth wall] Not in front of the kids!
      Pumbaa: [also looks] 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.
    • At least the Hungarian dub turns this joke into Leaning on the Fourth Wall, as Timon says "Not in front of the kid!" instead of "kids", which could refer to Simba just as well as a kid watching the movie.
  • 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: 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 has 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 can't believe it. He's gone back!
    Timon: Gone back? Whaddaya mean?
    [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.
    Timon: Who?
    Nala: 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.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Timon does this during his and Pumbaa's opening to "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" when describing how Simba has fallen in love, speaking in a sarcastic mock French accent...
    Ze sweet caress of twilight!
  • Broken Aesop: Rafiki's message of "the past can hurt, but you can either run from it or learn from it" is broken by the narrative. Simba tries to confront his fears, but his fears start to win when Scar again puts the blame on Simba for causing his father's death, and Simba starts to doubt himself again. The other lions start doubting him too. It's only when Scar has Simba in a situation where he will probably die that he confesses that he was the actual murderer. This gives Simba the confidence to finally defeat Scar and when he does this, all the others finally accept him in their midst. Of course, had Simba never tried facing his past, he would have never learned the truth, and Scar would still be king.
  • Broken Pedestal: As a cub, Simba is always excited to hang out with Uncle Scar. By contrast, adult Simba is filled with Tranquil Fury towards Scar for what he's done, no longer calling him "Uncle".
  • Broken Record: Simba as he tries to wake up Mufasa in the beginning.
    Simba: Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad! (etc.)
  • Broken Win/Loss Streak: Downplayed between Simba and Nala. Simba loses to Nala three times throughout the film, the first two in a row when play wrestling as cubs and then again years later when fighting seriously as adults. During their Falling-in-Love Montage, the two begin to playfully wrestle again and accidentally tumble down a hill together. Simba ends up the "winner" by landing on top of Nala, finally pinning her and ending her winning streak against him.
  • 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, and not just because they thought she was going to eat Pumbaa.
  • Butt Sticker: At the end of "I Just Can't Wait To Be King", Zazu ends up under the bottom of a sitting rhinoceros.
  • Cain and Abel: Scar is envious of his brother Mufasa, so much so that he plans to murder him and usurp the throne.
  • 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, despite Timon and Pumbaa end up in the middle of starving lionesses eventually.
      Timon: Whoa, whoa! Time out! Let me get this straight. You [Simba] know her [Nala]. She knows you. But she wants to eat him [Pumbaa]. And... everybody's okay with this? DID I MISS SOMETHING?!
    • When Simba asks Mufasa about this near the beginning of the film, he justifies them eating herbivores with it being the part of the Circle of Life.
      Mufasa: When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life.
  • Casting Gag:
    • James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair played an African king and queen in Coming to America as well. Jones voicing the father of the protagonist also brings to mind his most famous role.
    • Zazu is a royal advisor played by Rowan Atkinson. This was apparently because Tim Rice is a fan of Blackadder.
    • The singing voice for Adult Simba is Joseph Williams, better known as one of the (and still current) lead singers of the band Toto, whose Signature Song is...wait for it..."Africa". Even better, a number of lyrics from the song are rather startlingly relevant to the plot of the film/Simba's emotional arc: "I stopped an old man along the way/Hoping to find some long forgotten words or ancient melodies/He turned to me as if to say, 'Hurry boy, it's waiting there for you'"; "I know that I must do what's right/As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti/I seek to cure what's deep inside, frightened of this thing that I've become."
  • Cats Hate Water: During "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" Simba playfully grabs Nala and pulls her into the lake they were drinking from. Nala quickly rises up surprised and quickly gets out, dripping wet and with a shocked look. Downplayed as Simba is just fine in the water, and Nala smirks at him before pushing him back in.
  • Caught in the Bad Part of Town: When Mufasa shows Simba the Pride Lands, he informs Simba that the Elephant Graveyard is beyond their borders and they must never go there. Scar coaxes Simba to go there by telling him only the bravest lions are allowed to go there, and Simba tricks Zazu into bringing him and Nala there by telling him they're going to the water hole. When Simba, Nala, and Zazu reach the Elephant Graveyard, they get chased by the hungry hyenas, until Mufasa arrives and saves them.
  • Cel Shading: The wildebeest from the stampede sequence are CGI, but cel-shaded to look like traditional animation.
  • Character Death: 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.
  • 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.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Downplayed. After Simba loses to Nala and is pinned by her, he immediately tries to get back at her by pouncing on her while she's distracted. This backfires by accidentally sending them both tumbling down a hill and Nala still ends up pinning him when they reach the bottom.
  • 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 his arch-nemesis 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.
  • Chew-Out Fake-Out: Subverted. Mufasa really does read Simba the riot act for sneaking to the Elephant Graveyard against his orders, and endangering Nala. When Simba confesses he was trying to be like his dad, Mufasa softens his tone and gives him a lesson that "being brave doesn't mean seeking trouble" and that even kings like him get scared. This leads to them playfully tussling, with Mufasa assuming Simba has learned not to go to the shadow lands again.
  • 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: When the three hyenas tumble down a slope while chasing young Simba, Ed who's coming down last pushes Banzai in a large thorn bush.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • When Timon comments that Simba looks blue — i.e., depressed — Pumbaa replies that he's more brownish-gold.
    • Timon and Pumbaa's worry-free lifestyle is based on the motto "Hakuna Matata." They may have missed the fine print that said the phrase only tells you not to worry in a given situation- you still need to face your problems.
    • During "Be Prepared", Scar says the hyenas need to be prepared for the death of the king (Mufasa). The hyenas ask if he's sick, then Scar says that they'll kill him and Simba. The hyenas then think that this means that there will be no king (until Scar reminds them that he'll be the king).
  • Coming-of-Age Story: The story follows Simba throughout his childhood and adulthood as he learns who he is and what he is meant to do. It is not until adulthood when he realizes that he must confront his past instead of running from it.
  • Company Cross References: After taking over Pride Rock, Scar reduces Zazu to an imprisoned jester and forces the poor bird to sing for him. One of the songs Zazu chooses is "It's A Small World After All", from the Disneyland ride "It's a Small World".
  • 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 speculation and headcanon. Also, the animated series gave a different (and fairly moving) version of Timon and Pumbaa meeting than .
  • 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.
  • Correlation/Causation Gag: Simba roars, trying to scare off the hyenas attacking him and Nala, but as a small cub he can only manage a small growl-ish thing. The hyenas taunt him about it, goading him to try again, but this time Mufasa roars at the exact same time Simba does.
  • 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.
  • Crapsack World: Under Scar's reign of Pride Rock, the kingdom becomes a barren wasteland because of his ineffectual rule. Due to this, he is widely hated by all of the animals, including his hyena mooks. The only reason why he's holding onto his power is because he petulantly whines about how "[he's] the king [who] can do whatever [he wants]" like a Spoiled Brat when others compare his rule against Mufasa's, refuses to acknowledge the damage his sloppy reign has caused due to his bloated ego, and explodes in anger whenever Mufasa's name is brought up. As if that wasn't enough, Pride Rock does erupt in flames. It's only after Scar is killed by his hyena minions and Simba takes his rightful place as king of Pride Rock that the kingdom transforms back into the Ghibli Hills savanna it was once under Mufasa.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: During the fight between Simba and Nala, Timon screams at Simba to "Go for the jugular!" The primary way lions kill their prey is by biting the throat of the animal, cutting off blood to the brain and air to the lungs.
  • Cue the Sun: The film's opening shot.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Nala easily flips and pins Simba twice as cubs, both of which he started. Especially clear the second time where he is upset that she beat him so easily and tackles her while she's distracted, but when they roll down a hill all she does is laugh while he's panicking and still pins him no problem. Subverted later when they fight evenly as adults.
    • Rafiki versus the hyenas is over in seconds. He effortless knocks four of them out while rescuing Simba.
  • Curb-Stomp Cushion: Though Simba still ultimately loses his fight against Nala as adults, against the same move she used to beat him twice as cubs, he manages to put up a much better fight than he did the first two times, including getting her to briefly panic when he first arrives and managing to briefly pin her at the start of the fight.
  • Curse Cut Short: "Why do I always have to save your- AAAHHHH!"

    D-G 
  • 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.
  • Death Glare:
    • After pinning Simba during their fight in the jungle, Nala briefly glares down at him menacingly, practically nose to nose with him, until he says her name. It is unclear if she was possibly going to kill him or just warning him not to interfere again.
    • Scar gives an aside one to the hyenas when realising they failed to kill Simba.
      Scar: Simba! I'm a little surprised to see you... alive.
      *the hyenas gulp*
  • Deathly Dies Irae: After Scar orders the hyenas to kill Simba, Simba tries to flee for his life, but immediately runs into a dead end. The brass section blasts the four notes of "Dies Irae" to indicate Simba is facing possible death.
  • Delayed "Oh, Crap!": 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:
    Zazu: What's going on?
    Mufasa: A pouncing lesson.
    Zazu: Oh, very good... pouncing. (turns back, beat) (realizes what he just said) POUNCING?! Oh, no, sire - you can't be serious! Oh, this is so humiliating.
  • Deranged Animation: A vast majority of "I Just Can't Wait To Be King"'s backgrounds employ this.
  • 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.
  • Destination Ruse: In an inverted example, Scar coaxes Simba to go to the Elephant Graveyard. When Simba meets up with Nala, they trick Zazu into leading them to the Water Hole so they can ditch him there while they explore the Elephant Graveyard. Zazu is not happy when he finds out that the cubs have tricked him, as it's his responsibility to keep them safe from the hungry hyenas.
  • Devoured by the Horde: After Simba defeats Scar in a fight, Scar gets surrounded by his former hyena henchmen and he gets eaten alive by them when they learn he'll eventually betray them.
  • Did I Say That Out Loud: Invoked by Scar when he "accidentally" mentions the Elephant Graveyard to Simba.
  • Didn't Think This Through: When Zazu is captured by the hyenas and subjected to the birdie boiler, Simba tells them they should pick on someone their own size. Unfortunately for Simba, this merely causes the hyenas to turn on him and Nala instead, giving him an Oh, Crap! moment when he realises his mistake. Oops, indeed.
  • Disappointed in You:
    • Mufasa to Simba during his lecture after the incident at the elephant graveyard.
    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.
    • And later, when his ghost tells Simba, "You've forgotten who you are, and so forgotten me."
  • Disney Acid Sequence: "I Just Can't Wait to Be King", which is supposed to capture Simba's childish perspective during the song, is full of vibrant colors, changing scenarios, and various animals in choreographed dancing.
  • Disney Death:
    • Averted. Contrary to Baloo in The Jungle Book (1967) (who simply wanted to know how Bagheera and Mowgli felt about him), Mufasa is quite definitely dead.
    • Also downplayed with Simba in that Scar led everyone at Pride Rock to believe Simba was dead, yet we know otherwise.
  • Disneyfication: The film provides a very romanticized view of nature, with animals showing far more respect for each other than they do in real life.
  • Disney Villain Death: Subverted. While Simba does manage to throw Scar a significant distance below him, the fall isn't what does him in. Rather, the hyenas overhearing his attempt to throw them under the bus is what seals his fate. Also, inverted, as Mufasa was the one who fell to his ultimate doom at the hands of Scar and got his carcass trampled by wildebeest.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
  • The Dog Bites Back: Near the end, Scar attempts to pin everything on the hyenas and sell them out to Simba, not knowing that they're there listening to him say it.
    Scar: My friends.
    Shenzi: Friends? I thought he said we were the enemy.
  • Dramatic Irony: In the second half of the movie, Scar blames Simba for his father's death, and he thinks his roar started the stampede in the first place, when the audience knows Simba is innocent and Scar set the whole thing up. Also, Scar tricks the Pridelanders into thinking Simba died as well, but the audience knows he's still pretty much alive.
  • 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.
  • Dramatic Thunder: The Final Battle pits Simba against Scar during a thunderstorm. The brush fires that are ignited by the lightning plays its part in the battle.
  • 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 (he does snark a Let's See YOU Do Better! at her though, she just keeps laughing).
      Shenzi: What, you want me to come out there looking like you? Cactus-Butt?
  • Dynamic Entry:
    • Mustafa's Big Damn Heroes entry when the hyenas chase Simba and Nala to a corner of the elephant graveyard.
    • Simba gets one himself years later, when he lunges at Nala to protect Timon and Pumbaa with a mighty roar, and even manages to pin her under him for a moment.
  • Dystopia Is Hard: Even after he takes control, Scar's regime is far from stable. By the time Simba actually comes back to Pride Rock, most of the pride has moved on, there's barely anything left to hunt because of Scar and his hyena Mooks hoarding everything to themselves, and the hyenas themselves are openly discussing revolt, tacitly admitting how much better things were when Mufasa was still alive. Scar himself has become so paranoid that he snaps at anyone even saying the name "Mufasa," and the only reason he's holding onto his power is because he petulantly whines about how "I'm the king! I can do whatever I want!" Simba's return also sees Scar admit that he killed Mufasa, which is the spark that lights the fuse on an open rebellion against him. Scar's last-ditch attempt to throw the hyenas under the bus causes a Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal, and he's Eaten Alive after Simba throws Scar off the top of Pride Rock.
  • 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.
  • Easily Forgiven: Once Simba and Nala recognize each other, Simba instantly forgives her for trying to eat his friends. Pumbaa is also instantly forgiving and happily introduces himself. Timon is the only one who is confused by this sudden turn of events and does not immediately trust Nala.
  • Eating the Enemy: Scar tries to have his hyenas dispose of Simba this way but they fail both times.
  • Elephant Graveyard: The base of operation for Scar and the home of the hyenas.
  • Elephants Never Forget: In "The Morning Report", as Zazu is referencing a bunch of animal puns and stereotypes, he also touches on the elephants' stereotype of having excellent memory.
    "The tick birds are pecking on the elephants. I told the elephants to forget it, but they can't..." (original spoken version)
    The elephants remember, though just what I can't recall. (song version)
  • Empathic Environment: The geology of the African rift valleys was very active during "Be Prepared."
  • The Epic: Essentially, this film is a straight up classical one.
  • Epic Movie: Arguably Disney's most well known example from their animated films.
  • Epic Fail: Simba's attempts to pin Nala during their argument as cubs. He pounces on her with a roar expecting to easily pin her and win their argument, only to end up being flipped, slammed down and pinned himself, all with a shocked look on his face and Nala teasing him. When she turns away from him and is distracted he pounces on her again to get revenge, only to accidentally send them both tumbling down a hill. Nala laughs the whole way down, enjoying herself, while Simba is seen shocked by this accident and struggles to stay on top of Nala, only to end up getting flipped and pinned again for his efforts, and Nala smugly rubbing her victory in his face.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Scar has no problems siding with hyenas.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Mufasa is introduced standing stoically atop Pride Rock on the day of his son's presentation, bearing a grim scowl on his face, but as soon as Zazu presents himself Mufasa gives him a smile, and then he greets Rafiki with a warm hug. He's an imposing and strong king, but he's also a benevolent and personable figure, as well.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: As Mufasa hangs on for his life above the stampeding wildebeests, he begs his brother for help only to painfully discover that Scar is relishing the opportunity to ensure his brother's death.
  • Euphemism Buster: Scar has to backtrack and Euphemism Bust himself thanks to dumb hyenas:
    Banzai: Yeah, be prepared! We'll be prepared! For what?
    Scar: For the death of the king!
    Banzai: What, is he sick?
    Scar: No, you fool, we're going to kill him. And Simba, too.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot:
    • Fires set the stage for Simba's final battle with Scar.
    • Also, for some reason there's unexplained volcanic activity right during "Be Prepared".
  • 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.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Simba and Nala don't realize that they have literally wrestled right into the Elephant Graveyard until a steam geyser goes off right next to them.
  • Falling-in-Love Montage: The song "Can you feel the love tonight".
  • Family of Choice: Timon and Pumbaa follow Nala when Simba returns to Pride Rock. They say that even if it's dangerous, they'll face hyenas and Scar for Simba who acknowledges their dedication and makes them part of the pride.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Flat Joy: Scar does the sarcastic version.
    Simba: Hey, Uncle Scar, guess what.
    Scar: I despise guessing games.
    Simba: I'm gonna be king of Pride Rock.
    Scar: (deadpan) Oh, goody.
  • Floating Head Syndrome: Mufasa in the cineplex posters. This is a unique case of it pertaining to the events of the story.
  • Forbidden Fruit: The elephant graveyard and anything beyond the borders of the Pride Lands, despite not being an ideal place.
  • Foreboding Fleeing Flock: Invoked when Scar has the hyenas cause a wildebeest stampede as a trap for both Simba and Mufasa.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • "A king's time as ruler rises and falls like the sun. One day, Simba, the sun will set on my time here, and will rise with you as the new king." Mufasa's reign ends at sundown following his death; and the sun rises as Simba ascends as the new king.
    • 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 (as a rhino had fallen on top of Zazu) or foreshadowing how Simba's whole self-image is about to come crashing down thanks to Scar's frame-up.
  • Forgiveness: Despite initially chewing out Simba for his reckless decision to go to the graveyard — neither lion knows of Scar's involvement — Mufasa forgives him on seeing that Simba really is sorry, and was doing it out of a misguided attempt to prove to his father that he was brave.
  • Frameup: 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: As Simba slumps at the edge of the cliff, the dust clouds spell out “SFX”. Most people thought it read “SEX”, however, so this bonus was removed from the Platinum edition DVD, Diamond Edition Blu-ray, and assumedly all subsequent releases of the film.
  • Full-Boar Action: Pumbaa, once his Berserk Button is pressed one time too many.
  • Full Moon Silhouette: During the Age Cut, Simba and his two new-found friends walk across a tree trunk with a Gigantic Moon in the background.
  • 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.
    • During "Be Prepared", Scar scares Shenzi and Banzi onto geysers, which blast them up off the top of the screen. As Scar keeps singing, the two hyenas plummet down half a verse later in the background. In the sing-a-long version, some of the text is also blasted off-screen with the hyenas, and comes plummeting back down with them as well.
    • During the last part of "Be Prepared" while Scar is going on about why he should be king the hyenas are actually singing about how much food they'll get under Scar's rule.
      Scar: Meticulous planning
      Hyenas: We'll have food!
      Scar: Tenacity spanning
      Hyenas: Lots of food!
      Scar: Decade of denial
      Hyenas: We repeat.
      Scar: Is simply why I'll
      Hyenas: Endless meat
  • Gag Echo:
    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?
  • 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.
  • Get Out!:
    • After he kills Mufasa, Scar tells Simba to do this, telling him to "run away and never return". Once Simba has run off, Scar sends the hyenas after him. This gets reversed in an Ironic Echo later.
    • Scar tells the hyenas this when they complain that they're hungry, showing how little he really cares about them. He then shortens it to "OUT!" when Banzai says they're still hungry and Scar has done nothing about it.
  • Gilligan Cut: When Timon is offered as live bait, he sarcastically asks if they want him to dress in drag and do the hula. In the next scene, he does exactly that.
  • Glad I Thought of It:
    • Simba calls himself a genius after he and Nala escape Zazu, and Nala points out it was her idea they used. Simba simply says he's the one who pulled it off, but Nala once again claims he did it with her.
    • Pumbaa suggests that they should adopt Simba since "When he grows up, maybe he'll be on our side." Timon first dismisses the idea as stupid, but then presents it as his own.
  • Good Animals, Evil Animals: The lions and hyenas. With the exception of Scar, the lions are always portrayed as noble and honorable, while the hyenas are portrayed as scummy and subserviant to Scar. However, Timon & Pumbaa implies that Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed settle for neutrality following the movie, and The Lion Guard introduces Jasiri's clan, who claim that Shenzi's clan are the exception rather than the rule when it comes to hyenas.
  • Graceful Loser: Downplayed. During "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" Simba finally manages to pin Nala when they tumble down a hill and he lands on top of her. She rewards him for "beating her" with a lick on the cheek and a seductive look.

    H-M 
  • Hair Flip: Scar’s mane flips rather seductively during "Be Prepared".
  • Hakuna Matata: Trope Namer. Timon and Pumbaa tell Simba, who has just run away from his responsibilities and his life, that he doesn't need to worry about the past, because a carefree existence is much less trouble. Subverted: This mentality ends up becoming an obstacle Simba must throw off before he can kill Scar and claim his inheritance. In fact, it shows him being apathetically cynical. "Bad things happen and there's nothing you can do about it. So why worry?"
  • A Handful for an Eye: Right before their fight, Scar blinds Simba by kicking hot coals into his face.
  • Hand Stomp:
  • Hates Baths: Simba as a cub. He presumably grew out of it during his time with Timon and Pumbaa, since the midquel shows him playing about in the water while living with them as a cub. Of course, there's a big difference between playing in the water and being licked clean by your mother.
  • 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.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Scar spends his relationship with the hyenas lying and constantly breaking promises about bringing food to them, and their impatience and irritation boil over when Scar tries to pin the blame for Mufasa's death on them. He ends up getting eaten by his own hyenas in a well-deserved Family-Unfriendly Death.
  • Hope Spot: After disappearing into the stampede, Mufasa leaps onto the cliffside and is seemingly about to claw his way back up to safety. And then Scar shows up to finish what he started...
  • Animal Ladder: Zazu at the end of "I Just Can't Wait to be King" ends up at the bottom of one.
  • 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 Special Edition's new 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".
    • To cap that off, after Zazu finishes his report and gets pounced by Simba, a groundhog pops up to deliver "news from the underground".
    • 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)
  • Hypocrite:
    Simba: You don't deserve to live.
    Scar: But Simba... I am family.
  • I Can Explain: When Scar faces his demise by the claws of the hyenas, he tries the "Let me explain" line to no avail.
  • Idiotic Partner Confession:
    • Simba when he questions why Zazu is acting so afraid of the hyenas when he said earlier that they were "slobbery, mangy, stupid poachers". Said hyenas are, of course, right in front of them. It's not completely played straight, since Simba isn't so much an idiot as an innocent child.
    • A second example later on, when Mufasa corners the three Hyenas after they tried to kill Simba. Shenzi and Banzai immediately insist that they had no idea Simba is Mufasa's son; then Ed spills the beans.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Averted and invoked by Simba in his final fight with Scar.
  • I Kiss Your Foot: Pumbaa, after learning Simba is the king.
    Pumbaa: King? Your Majesty! I gravel at your feet. (begins kissing Simba's paw)
    Simba: (pulling it away) Stop that!
    Timon: It's not gravel, it's grovel.
  • I'll Kill You!: The hyenas’ threats to a pursued Simba.
    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'm Taking Her Home with Me!: When Timon and Pumbaa first run across Simba in the desert, Timon's first reaction is to panic because of, well, the food chain. Pumbaa meanwhile thinks Simba's such a cute little guy that he asks, "Can we keep him?"
  • Informed Species
    • Although Pumbaa is a warthog, he looks more like a tanned domesticated pig with a mane and tusks. To be fair, he did look like an actual warthog in early concept art.
    • Timon looks almost nothing like an actual meerkat. Timon is peach-yellow when meerkats are sand colored, has upturned ears when they have downturned ears, and a head full of red hair like a human would have. Plus, real meerkats walk on all fours and have black eyes.
  • Insult Backfire:
    Simba: Hey, why don't you pick on someone your own size?!
    Shenzi: Like you?
    Simba: Oops.
  • Insult Misfire: Zig-zagged:
    Simba: Zazu, you told me they were nothing but slobbering mangy stupid poachers.
    Zazu: Ixnay on the upidstey.
    Banzai: Who you calling 'upidstey'?!
  • Internal Reveal: Scar, engaging in one last bit of Evil Gloating as he thinks he's finally about to kill Simba for good, leans in and finally tells him the truth: "I killed Mufasa!" This turns out to have been a mistake, as it gives Simba a Heroic Second Wind and he immediately pins Scar and forces him to repeat it to the rest of the pride.
  • Ironic Echo: After killing Mufasa, Scar tells Simba to "Run. Run away and never return." Then at the end of the film, when Scar seemingly pleads for mercy, Simba accepts but tells him, "Run. Run away, Scar, and never return."
  • I Take Offense to That Last One!: Banzai only seems to have a problem with being called "stupid" after hearing a bunch of insults. Even then, he doesn't pick up on it until Zazu explains this in Pig Latin.
  • It Was with You All Along: Rafiki tells Simba that his father is still alive. When Simba tells Rafiki that his father is dead, Rafiki shows him that his father still lives on inside him.
  • It's All About Me: It's pretty obvious early on that Scar cares for no one except himself. He wants the throne for himself, is perfectly willing to kill his brother and try to kill his nephew to get it, and drives the Pridelands to ruin because of how he only wants the power of the throne and not the responsibilities that come with it.
  • It's All My Fault: Simba spends most of the movie believing that he killed his father mostly due to his Uncle's manipulations and tries to hide from the rest of the pride in shame.
  • 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. Though he does eventually pin her himself, it is actually the least like a "fight" out of them all, being while they were romantically rolling down a hill together, and she still leads him 3-1.
  • Just Between You and Me: When Scar has Simba trapped on the ledge of a gorge ... instead of simply throwing him to his death, he gloats at the moment and, thinking he's finished him off and about to celebrate victory, whispers to him that he really masterminded his (Simba's) father's death. Huge mistake and huge aversion, as Simba gains a huge Heroic Second Wind and eventually defeats Scar in a fight.
  • Just Desserts: The ending has a chilling case. When Simba corners Scar, Scar shamefully tries to get Simba's sympathy by by saying it was the hyenas' idea. Unbeknown to him, the hyenas had overheard his attempt to throw them under the bus. After Simba throws him off a cliff, the betrayed hyenas decide to devour him out of spite.
  • Just Giving Orders: After Simba gets his Heroic Second Wind and has The Villain cornered, Scar tries to weasel out of his comeuppance by placing all blame for the coup on Mufasa and subsequent overrun of the Pridelands on the hyenas. "It was the hyenas; they're the enemy." While this excuse does avert being killed outright by Simba, this defense also proves to be quotable Famous Last Words.
  • Just in Time: At the beginning, Scar traps Zazu in his mouth and is about to eat him, when Mufasa enters at just the right moment and orders Scar to drop him. Zazu lampshades it, poking his beak out of Scar's mouth to do so: "Impeccable timing, your majesty!"
  • "Just So" Story: Timon's theory about how stars form was actually confirmed in The Princess and the Frog.
  • Karmic Death: Scar spent his life betraying family and allies, and this finally bites him big time as the Hyenas descend upon him for trying to blame them for Mufasa's death. Doubly so that he is only swarmed after being thrown off a cliff, the same way he killed Mufasa.
  • Karmic Jackpot: Timon and Pumbaa come to help in the climax, despite being outcasts that spend their time chasing buzzards. They say it's worth facing danger for Simba's sake. Simba smiles and, at the end, makes them part of the Pride.
  • King of Beasts: It is about a lions’ monarchy, after all, and so lions are portrayed as the rulers who oversee all of the other animals.
  • Leave The Two Love Birds Alone: When Simba and Nala reunite, she asks for the two of them to be left alone. When Simba repeats that request, Timon realizes what is about to happen and laments the two will fall in love.
  • Left Hanging: Although 'Hakuna Matata' vaguely explains why Pumbaa became an outcast, Timon does not. Made up by the fact that there's an entire midquel dedicated to it.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: Timon when Nala shows up: "Let me get this straight. You know her. She knows you. But she wants to eat him. And everybody is okay with this? Did I miss something?!"
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Pumbaa, the friendly and kind warthog and Rafiki, the eccentric monkey shaman both show surprisingly good fighting skills during the climax. Rafiki takes down four hyenas at once while Pumbaa sends Banzai, Ed and Shenzi running. Sarabi also fights the hyenas when Scar confesses that he killed Mufasa and tosses them like ragdolls.
  • Life Isn't Fair: Said by Scar in a creepy tone. It is the first spoken (not sung) sentence in the movie.
  • Light/Darkness Juxtaposition: The film contrasts the brightly-lit, beautiful Pride Lands with the Elephant Graveyard, a shadowy, miserable wasteland. Simba and Mufasa's rule is generally associated with light (eg. the Natural potlight when a new heir is born, the the warm light that surrounds Simba when he arrives to reclaim the throne, their own red-and-gold color scheme); meanwhile, when the dark-colored Scar usurps the throne, the Pride Lands are cast in shadow.
    Simba: Everything the light touches... What about that shadowy place?
  • "Lion King" Lift: The Trope Namer and Ur-Example happens in “Circle of Life”, wherein Rafiki grandly lifts the newborn Simba up so everyone can see the new prince on Pride Rock.
  • Literal-Minded: Pumbaa, sometimes.
    Timon: Gee, he looks blue.
    Pumbaa: I'd say brownish-gold.
  • Literally Falling in Love: During "Can You Feel The Love Tonight", Simba and Nala accidentally end up tumbling down a hill together while playfully wrestling. Simba ends up pinning Nala, and she gives him a surprise lick on the cheek before they both share a romantic seductive gaze.
  • Love Redeems: Simba may have seemingly killed his father 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" is about the budding relationship between Simba and Nala, from simple friends to something more than that. It ends with the two sharing G-Rated Sex.
  • Lying on a Hillside: Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa when stargazing, although it isn't actually a hillside they're on.
  • 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.
  • Mama Bear: When Simba forces Scar to confess that he killed Mufasa, Sarabi roars and follows Nala into battle. She suddenly understood that Scar framed Simba for Mufasa's death and launched a coup.
  • Manchild: Timon & Pumbaa (and occasionally the hyenas) can act very immature at times.
  • Man Hug: Rafiki and Mufasa at the beginning before Simon is revealed (both to the audience and then to the Pridelands) and then Rafiki and Simba at the end before Simba ascends Pride Rock.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: In-Universe example: In the Outtakes short in the 3D release, Scar and the hyenas get in on the fun. The hyenas are also frequent guests in House of Mouse.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • "Run... Run away... and NEVER return." Scar to Child!Simba, then Adult!Simba to Scar once he catches on to the deception
    • "Danger? Ha!... I laugh in the face of danger! Ha ha ha ha!" Child!Simba, later quoted by Adult!Nala
    • "...MISTER Banana Beak/Pig..." Respectively by Zazu and Pumbaa
    • "What will your mother/she think?" Scar to Child!Simba, then Adult!Nala to Adult!Simba
    • "a king/I can do whatever he/I want(s)" Scar sticks with the puerile misconception of royalty by Child!Simba, though it's doubtful that the latter would let his pride starve to death
    • The hyenas rhetorically question each other about the cub presence in the graveyard scene, Ed concluding with a hysterical laugh. They echo themselves at the end when discussing the fate of Scar, but with a much darker overtone:
    "Ed?" ( Evil laughter)
  • Meaningful Name: Several name can be translated from Swahili (except Ed, Timon, Scar and Mufasa), but it is more or less meaningful for each character:
    • Simba means lion in Swahili and, indeed, Simba is a lion.
    • Scar, who has a very obvious one across the left eye. There may be a heavy background behind this, but it is never detailed in the film.
      • According to The Lion King: Six New Adventures, his Swahili name is Taka, meaning both "garbage" and "want". He certainly wants his brother's kingdom, and being named garbage his whole life might explain his envy of his brother, see below.
    • The origin of Mufasa's name is not certain, either meaning king in manazoto or being a tribute to an ancient kenyan king, but with no proofs for both.
    • Pumbaa means foolish. It's right that he's not especially smart and gets often fooled by Timon, but he has also moments of perspicacity.
    • Rafiki means friend. He looks like to be a precious adviser for the king, and his advices were indeed decisive to resolve Simba's inner conflict.
    • Zazu means movement. Of course, since he is a bird, he moves a lot and fast by flying, but he doesn't look especially restless.
    • Shenzi means barbarous. Tough she is part of a species excluded from the "civilized" Pride Lands because they don't respect its rules, that seems to be true for every hyena. Unless it means she is worse than the other.
    • There is no certainty about the three lionesses:
      • Nala means gift. It can be speculated that's because she is a foreign princess given to the Pride during some diplomatic exchange, but there is no canon indications (although her father is now clearly established to not be Scar or Mufasa).
      • Sarabi means mirage and Sarafina means bright star. Hard to tell without more backstory.
  • Melancholy Musical Number: Zazu begins singing "Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen" while moping in a ribcage in Scar's lair. Scar objects that the song is too maudlin, and commands Zazu shift to one with "more bounce to it." Mockingly, Zazu shifts to "It's A Small World After All", which Scar finds even worse.
  • Metaphorically True: Almost nothing Scar says to Simba before or after the stampede is untrue, which has the dual effect of covering his tracks 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?
  • 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 Vegetation: When Banzai falls into the thorns and suffers some Amusing Injuries, Shenzi jokingly calls him "cactus butt". There are no traditional-looking cacti in Africa note , and the plants that hurt Banzai don't look like cacti, so they probably just used this word because "cactus butt" sounds funnier than "thorn butt".
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Giant anteaters and leafcutter ants — both species endemic to Latin America — appear briefly in "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" and "The Circle of Life", respectively. All the other fauna is from Africa, although not all are from East Africa where the movie appears to take place (e.g., meerkats like Timon are from South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia, and mandrills like Rafiki are from the jungles of West and Central Africa). Gorillas are also briefly seen amongst the savannah animals at the end of "The Circle of Life" as well as once in "I Just Can't Wait To Be King", even though gorillas are forest-dwelling primates.
    • The rodent who warns Zazu of the hyenas' invasion also counts. He's referred to as a Gopher in related media (which doesn't make sense in itself, since gophers are endemic to the Americas), but he's actually most likely a big-headed mole-rat; said species is only found in the Ethiopian Highlands, VERY far-removed from the Serengeti.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • 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 for some after the past few minutes).
    • Just before that, there's Shenzi calling Banzai "cactus butt" right after Mufasa's death.
    • Simba's reunion with Nala in the forest is also noticeable. It starts with a fierce battle between the two with Simba trying to protect Timon and Pumbaa, then the two joyfully recognizing each other and them falling in love by hanging out around the forest in what can be considered a date. Then the two get into an argument immediately afterwards about Simba coming back to become king and Simba storming off in anger, resembling a temporary break up between the two of them.
    • After Simba receives a pep talk from his dead father, he and Rafiki talk about change. Simba admits he's afraid of facing his past. Rafiki then whacks him with a stick; he then uses it as an analogy about how the past can hurt, but you can learn from it. As a result, Simba playfully tosses Rafiki's stick and starts running back to Pride Rock, causing Rafiki to howl in joy.
  • Moral Luck: Scar uses this trope to trick Simba and later the lionesses into thinking he's morally responsible for his father's death. While the audience knows Scar masterminded the whole thing, Simba is tricked into thinking that his "little roar" in the gorge frightened a nearby heard of wildebeest (which he didn't even know were there) into stampeding, which ended up trampling Mufasa. Scar then leads him to believe that accidentally doing something that unintentionally causes someone else's death is morally the same as intentionally killing them.
    Scar: Murderer!
    Simba: No! It was an accident!
    Scar: If it weren't for you, Mufasa would still be alive! Your fault he's dead. Do you deny it?
    Simba: No.
    Scar: Then you're guilty.
  • 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.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: Simba has never been able to beat his best friend Nala in a fight. He lost to her twice in a row as cubs, and the second time he pounced her when she was distracted. They fight a third time years later as adults and although they are more evenly match, she still pins him the exact same way, flipping him and pinning him down. She snarls down at him and could have possibly killed him before he says her name. Although Simba does eventually get a "win" against her, pinning her after tumbling down a hill together, it is more of a romantic moment between the two than a "fight".
  • Multilingual Song: "The Circle of Life", which has lyrics in both English and Zulu.

    N-R 
  • Nails on a Blackboard: Early on, Scar scrapes his nails on a rock face in order to annoy Zazu.
  • Natural Spotlight: The king being held to the sky. There aren't even any clouds to justify the light slits.
  • 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..
  • Never My Fault: Scar attempts to blame Mufasa's death of his hyena army, unaware that Banzai, Ed and Shenzi were overhearing him the whole time. Not only does Simba not buy it, but it sets the stage for the hyenas turning on Scar.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
    • Young Simba had a massive ego and believed that being King allows one to do anything they want. It is scary to imagine just how easily he could have become a tyrant. By destroying his life, Scar sets in motion the events that proceed to turn Simba into a better person.
      • Some may object that Mufasa would have curbed this trait by teaching him how to rule the kingdom; but it is debatable. One can find the admonition he gives to his son a little too short and light-hearted for the case of a child who nearly died with his friend by going into a place he was explicitly told not to by two people on the very day. In parallel, Sarabi seems careless enough to let the crown prince couple take a stroll under the lone supervision of a small powerless hornbill.
    • 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, forcing him to confess his crimes in full view of everyone.
    • 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-Standard Kiss: Simba and Nala nuzzle their faces together as a means of showing affection soon after they run into each other for the first time in years.
  • No One Could Survive That!: The hyenas break 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. Needless to say, Scar pays for their lack of responsibility years later when Simba returns fully grown.
  • 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: Timon interrupts Pumbaa’s lyric while also Breaking the Fourth Wall.
    Pumbaa: And I felt downhearted / Ev'ry time that I...
    Timon: Pumbaa! Not in front of the kids.
  • No, You: When Mufasa is confronting Scar for not coming to Simba's presentation and he starts to turn away.
    Mufasa: Don't turn your back on me, Scar!
    Scar: Oh, no, Mufasa. Perhaps YOU shouldn't turn YOUR back on me.
  • Ocular Gushers: Timon and Pumbaa cry this way when they realize they are losing Simba to Nala.
  • Oddball in the Series: In 2017, The Lion King's everlasting fame and success earned it a spot in the Walt Disney Signature Collection, the third line Walt Disney Home Video created for the Animated Canon's most lucrative hand-drawn movies (and the first to release any of those movies, including TLK, on Ultra HD and Disney+). However, it remains the only entry neither supervised by Walt Disney, nor based on a story he made aborted plans to adapt. The press release states that the collection includes films either made or inspired by Walt, subtly turning Bambi's influence on TLK into grounds to include both movies.note 
  • 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, er, 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.
    • Also Timon, whose name is Greek in origin.
  • Offhand Backhand: Rafiki takes out a hyena this way during the final battle.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: We do see the events leading up to it, but sadly for the fans, Timon, Pumbaa and Zazu teaming up to scare away Shenzi and Banzai takes place entirely offscreen. Still pretty epic for some, though.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Zazu at the beginning when he realizes Scar is about to try and eat him. Luckily for him, Mufasa enters Just in Time and Scar spits Zazu out.
    • 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."
    • The hyenas when they realized that Mufasa arrived.
    • Simba when 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. (Despite this, it provides the page image.)
    • 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.
    • After Mufasa is killed and Scar tells Simba to run away, Simba has one when he sees the hyenas are behind him and realises they intend to kill him.
    • Pumbaa, complete with Screams Like a Little Girl, when he happens to spot Nala lining up for a pounce - on him.
    • Nala gets one when Simba lunges at her when she's chasing Timon and Pumbaa. Though she quickly gets over it and begins fighting him evenly.
    • After smacking Sarabi to the ground for mentioning Mufasa in his presence, Scar notices a very angry looking Simba watching above. Punctuated since he actually thought it was Mufasa himself at first. Then, he realizes that Simba's returning to take his place as the rightful king.
    • The hyenas when Scar realizes that they hadn't finished Simba off after his escape from the Pride Lands.
    • Simba when Scar corners him on the cliff and whispers to him that Scar killed Mufasa. Seconds later, Scar has one of his own when Simba attacks him and has him tell the truth to the pride.
    • Banzai and Shenzi when they realize why calling Pumbaa a pig wasn't the smartest thing to do.
    • Scar when he realizes that he is about to be killed by his former mooks after being thrown off Pride Rock.
  • "Oh, Crap!" Smile: Shenzi and Banzai smile awkwardly after Mufasa caught them preying on Simba and Nala.
  • One-Man Army: Don't underestimate Pumbaa; he tears through several dozen hyeans without breaking a sweat.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Ed is usually seen laughing or goofing about. At the end, though, he is visibly pissed off and glaring straight at Scar. Even Shenzi and Banzai look worried at Ed's change of mood.
  • Orphaned Etymology: Scar uses several turns of phrase reliant on modern human society, such as the "shallow end of the gene pool" or "the lights are not all on upstairs."
  • Overly Specific Afterlife: The film only mentions that the Great Kings live in the stars upon dying. Nothing is stated about other lions or non-lions.
  • 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.
  • Parents as People: Played for Laughs when Simba tries to wake up his dad before sunrise. Sarabi and Mufasa sleepily argue about who should answer their son's calls.
  • 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 1½, 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.
    Shenzi: (to Simba) Like... you?
  • Platonic Co-Parenting: Timon and Pumbaa practically raise Simba from his early childhood. They also insist on helping him on finding out he needs to fight his uncle to reclaim his kingdom. He turned out pretty well, all things considered!
  • 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!
  • Plummet Perspective: Several times stones are shown falling off a cliff for effect.
  • Pop-Star Composer: Elton John not only composed the songs for the film, but he also sang his own version of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight", as featured in the ending credits.
  • Population Control: Cleverly implied. Mufasa was a wise king, and learned 'the circle of life' means balance of predators, prey and the land's resources, and a king must understand, respect and maintain that balance. Scar on the other hand does not. In elevating the hyenas from scavengers to apex predators he creates an unholy union that overwhelms their food source. To sustain them, the prey must breed like wildfire, consequently resulting in overgrazing, turning the lush Pridelands into an arid wasteland. Resources exhausted, the herds have no choice but to leave. Scar however refuses to abandon his kingdom (as that would mean he's no longer king), thus condemning his subjects to death by starvation.
  • Predation Is Natural: Mufasa explains to Simba that hunting and eating other animals is part of the Circle of Life.
    Simba: But, Dad, don't we eat the antelope?
    Mufasa: Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eats grass. So we are all connected in the great Circle of Life.
  • Predator Turned Protector: Simba fiercely protects his surrogate parents, Pumbaa and Timon, from the hungry Nala. In fact, Timon, initially reluctant to adopt the orphaned Simba due to him being a predator, changes his mind after he realizes he can exploit this trope.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    • Scar says, "Long live the king", before he sends Mufasa to his death.
    • Banzai and Shenzi say, "Ed?...", when they are going to kill Scar for his betrayal.
  • Previously Overlooked Paramour: Simba and Nala initally react to the notion of their betrothal with revulsion as cubs, since they are Just Friends. When they become adults, they realize that their familiarity as cubs makes them more compatible than they thought.
  • 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.
  • 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!"
  • Putting on the Reich: The hyenas goose-stepping in grid formations. The animators based the sequence on 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!!!
  • 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 although he comes in later, Rafiki. It's unknown exactly where Zazu fits in, however.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Scar allows the massive hyena clan to roam freely in the Pride Lands. The massive influx of new alpha-predators proves too much for both the herbivore population and water supply of the Pride Lands, leading to drought, destruction of the kingdom's vegetation, and the mass exodus of herbivores who faced starvation. Scar's unwillingness to actually run his kingdom also is implied to have hastened the destruction of the Pride Lands, especially since he let the hyenas run rampant and presumably over-hunt.
    • Simba has spent a majority of his life lazing around in a jungle and eating bugs for his diet, with no hunting experience or training he was suppose to receive growing up. Nala, grew up under Scar's reign and had to struggle and hunt to survive. When the two meet again after years apart they don't recognize each other at first and when Simba fights her to protect his friends from her he is only briefly able to hold her down due to surprising her. Instead of the hero overcoming a new foe and prevailing, Simba is outmatched against a more skilled opponent who got the better of him even when they were kids and only manages to survive the fight by recognizing the move Nala uses to beat him with and remembering her for using it.
  • Recurring Camera Shot: First it's Mufasa dangling from a cliff, later we see Simba in the exact same situation. Lampshaded by Scar:
    "Hmm, where have I seen this before? Let me think. Hmm. Oh yes. I remember. This is just the way your father looked before he died."
  • Recycled In Space: The film is based on Hamlet, recycled in the Serengeti,
  • 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.
  • Relative Button: Simba is losing the fight against Scar, and about to die, when Scar makes the mistake of boasting that he killed Mufasa the same way, resolving Simba's guilt about being the cause of Mufasa's death and giving him the Heroic Second Wind to turn the tables.
  • The Resenter: Scar to Mufasa. Also The hyenas toward the lions.
  • Restrained Revenge: Downplayed and played for laughs; during "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" Simba pulls Nala into the lake, which she is visibly shocked by. After getting out, she grins at Simba and playfully shoves him back in as revenge before running off. This is then followed by Simba chasing her into the forest, leading to them playfully wrestling like when they were cubs and Simba finally managing to beat Nala by pinning her, putting an end to her winning streak against him. The two just chuckle at this series of events before realizing they have fallen in love with each other.
  • Revised 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.
  • Ribcage Ridge: The elephant graveyard is filled with elephant bones, mainly ribcages, often used as terrain.
  • Right Behind Me: Scar doesn't realize the hyenas are close enough to hear him tell Simba that the hyenas were the real enemies. Unusually for this trope, Scar doesn't immediately find out they were right there. It's revealed to him a few minutes later when they decide to kill him.
  • Royal Harem: G Rated version. The lion king lives surrounded by females to mate with. They also qualify for Amazon Brigade, since they're the ones doing most of the hunting. Truth in Television in regards to lion behavior.
  • Rule of Cool: The ground rising up beneath Scar in the last verse of "Be Prepared" doesn't really make any sense, but looks quite epic.
  • 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, that one he will one day fill as king. After much hardship, he does. The directors' commentary highlights it as the image that sums up the plot, to the point the remake used it on the first poster.
    • The story of Moses is heavily referenced, in that Simba, the would-be king, is driven into the desert where he spends years trying to forget his past until a God-like apparition appears and tells him to liberate his homeland.
    • Scar is killed by being thrown into a fiery chasm and then eaten by the hyenas he double crossed, akin to someone being thrown into hell and tortured by demons.
    • The directors' commentary says that the drought during Scar's reign is this, quoting "The King restoreth the land!"
  • Running Gag: Simba's complete inability to beat Nala in a fight. She beats him twice in a row as cubs, even when he was the first to pounce, and later as adults he gets pinned throw the same trick. It's even given a Continuity Nod in the sequel. The only time Simba ever was able to beat Nala was by complete accident, landing on top of her after tumbling down a hill together and finally pinning her.

    S-Z 
  • Sad Battle Music: The stampede scene. It sounds like an epic battle, but tapers off into a melancholy dirge.
  • Sapient Eat Sapient:
    • Part of the hyena's failure to kill Simba and Nala is that they're too busy taunting them with their dinner plans to actually kill them.
    • Timon and Pumbaa save Simba only after agreeing that they can convince him not to eat them.
    • The only one even remotely upset with Nala's attempt to eat Pumbaa is Timon, and only for a moment. Though he is still afraid of her when she wakes him up.
    • While left ambiguous, it's entirely possible the hyenas ate Scar after turning on him.
  • Say My Name:
    • In the elephant graveyard, Nala calls out "Simba!" when she starts falling behind. Simba rushes back to save her from Shenzi.
    • Also Scar's yell of "SARABI!" when Simba returns to the Pridelands, before they realise he's still alive.
  • 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.
  • Scavengers Are Scum: Lions seem to only hunt (in Real Life lions scavenge as well). The series avoids Carnivore Confusion by presenting this as a normal part of "the Circle of Life". Despite this hyenas are the antagonists of the first film, and are portrayed as the constantly hungry and brutish lackeys of Scar.
  • Scenery Based Societal Barometer: though the effects of the king's leadership extend all over the Pride Lands, the narrative remains focussed primarily on Pride Rock itself. As such, the Rock serves a gauge for the health of the Pride lands as a whole: under Mufasa, the Rock is lit by bright sunshine under blue skies, and the surrounding area is lush and green; during Scar's tyrannical reign, the Rock has turned barren and the skies seem perpetually dark and overcast - reflecting the fact that the rest of the Pride Lands have been gripped by a massive famine. When Simba unseats Scar, the Rock is green and flourishing once again.
  • Scenery Gorn: The Pride Lands are absolutely destroyed by the end of Scar's rule. When Simba returns home to challenge him for the throne, it has been reduced to a barren, lifeless wasteland riddled with the carcasses of the hyenas' dead prey, with not one patch of grass or a drop of water to be seen for miles around; all of it the result of unchecked consumption on the part of both Scar and his minions, who have driven all the herds away that once inhabited the lush plains. Even more so during the final battle, where a lightning storm sets the land aflame before the rains come to end the destruction.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!:
    • Scar during his reign as king. He plainly states "I am the king! I can do whatever I want!"
    • Simba had this attitude as a cub too, though in a much more innocent way. He believed as king he could make or get rid of any rules with nobody to tell him what to do. He mainly wanted to get rid of his betrothal to Nala since neither of them wanted to marry their best friend, and later said he would fire Zazu.
  • 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.
    • There is also the topi, an otherwise obscure species of antelope that appears during The Circle of Life and is later featured more prominently in Simba's Pride.
  • Self-Imposed Exile: Simba, on the "advice" of Scar, runs away from the Pridelands after he's convinced that he killed his father.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Scar subverts this trope by framing Simba for Mufasa's death.
  • Sequel Hook: The birth and presentation of Simba and Nala's cub at the end. Sure enough, the sequel features Simba's cub, who turns out to be a female much to Timon and Pumbaa's chagrin.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: The camera pans to Scar's shadow when the hyenas gang up on him. All the audience gets is a silhouette of him when the hyenas pounce him and eat him alive.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Hamlet: Scar talks briefly to the skull of a prey in what seems like a shout-out to the famous "Alas poor Yorrick" scene in Hamlet.
    • To In the Heat of the Night:
    • Pumbaa's repeated line of "Are you talking to me?" is reminiscent of Robert De Niro's in Taxi Driver.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • A quick, rather flippant one: While Scar is signing 'Lovely Bunch of Coconuts', he holds up a baboon skull and moves its jaw to the lyrics. While the context is very different from the original play, one can't help but be reminded by the Shakespearian inspiration of the film.
  • 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).
    • 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. The way they only swing one paw at a time is also accurate. Lions will hit with one paw and use the other for balance or support. Tigers use both at the same time.
    • Shenzi leads Banzai and Ed, as well as some of the other hyenas in the climax. In Real Life, female hyenas sit higher on the pecking order than males do.
    • Zazu briefly mentions elephants getting annoyed at tick birds pecking at them. Contrary to popular belief, tick birds/oxpeckers are thought by many zoologists to actually be parasitic birds that are really after an animals blood (they typically eat ticks that are already bloated with blood, which seems contradictory to their supposed duties as custodians) and even when they do seem to be trying to help, it's clear from their hosts' reactions that they don't appreciate it. Elephants have actually been reported to try and dislodge tick birds, in fact, an occurrence which Zazu may well be referring to.
  • Sibling Murder: Scar killed his brother Mufasa to take over the Pridelands. He made his nephew Simba believe he killed his father and let him run away, though Simba didn't end up dying like expected and came back after a Plot-Relevant Age-Up.
  • Sickly Green Glow: The song "Be Prepared".
  • Sidekick Song: "Hakuna Matata", sung by the main character as well.
  • Sky Face: Simba sees his deceased father's face in the night sky, telling him, "Remember who you are. You are my son, and the one true king."
  • 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".
  • Smooch of Victory: During "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" Nala surprises Simba with a lick on the cheek after he finally pins her and the two begin to nuzzle shortly afterwards, the animal style of kissing.
  • Smug Smiler: Downplayed. The first time Nala pins Simba, she giggles and playfully teases him "pinned ya", but after he tries pouncing her again and they roll down a hill, she once again beats him and smirks down at him and teases him for losing again, more smug than playful.
    Nala: Pinned ya again.
  • 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.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: If the film is taken as an adaptation of Hamlet, then the equivalents of Hamlet himself (Simba), Gertrude (Sarabi), Polonius (Zazu), and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Timon and Pumbaa) all live, wheras the play has them all die in the end.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Is Pumba(a)'s name spelled with one or two A's? Official media uses "Pumbaa".
  • Stargazing Scene: Simba, Timon and Pumbaa spend a night staring at the stars and wondering exactly what they're made of. Timon guesses fireflies, Pumbaa guesses they're "giant balls of gas", and Simba mentions the story he was taught as a cub, that stars are really the ancient kings of the past watching over them, showing how he still hasn't fully moved on from his past.
  • 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.
  • Stealth Insult: This exchange between Simba and Scar:
    Simba: When I'm king, what'll that make you?
    Scar: A monkey's uncle.
  • Steamrolled Smart Guy: Zazu tries to teach a young Simba about the responsibilities of being a king. Simba is completely disinterested in these lessons. Zazu shows his frustration with birdlike screeches and squawks as he tries to keep Simba's attention.
  • Stink Snub: In one scene, the hyenas are spitefully listing things they don't like about the lions. Shenzi calls them "stinky."
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion:
    Pumbaa: And I got down-hearted...
    Timon: How did you feel?!
    Pumbaa: Every time that I—
    Timon: Pumbaa! Not in front of the kids!
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Scar says this exact quote about the hyenas. Interestingly, he said this about said hyenas playing their species' trope straight, more specifically them goofing around with Bonzai saying Mufassa's name to Shenzi's delight, and not the mission they had recently failed.
  • 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 can't believe it. He's gone back!
    Timon: "Gone back?" Whaddaya mean?
    [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.
    Timon: Who?
    Nala: 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.
  • Talks Like a Simile: When Zazu's intervening lets the field mouse Scar was going to eat escape, Scar drily notes, "Look Zazu, you made me lose my lunch." 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."
  • Tastes Like Chicken: Timon eating a grub as big as himself in the middle of "Hakuna Matata".
  • Tempting Fate:
    • "Danger? I walk on the wild side! I laugh in the face of danger! Ha ha ha!" Cue the hyenas laughing back...
    • When Simba roars at the hyenas, Shenzi taunts him into doing it again. Then Mufasa shows up...
  • 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: Many fans old enough to remember when The Lion King first came to DVD find that "Morning Report" was an unneeded addition to the film, since the movie didn't have it originally, nor in prints and home video releases struck from 2011 onward. It isn't a terrible song, nor completely irrelevant (it's in the stage versions of the movie, too), but it didn't exactly advance the plot or provide much (if any) character development.
  • 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." Of course, Mufasa IS dead and we all already knew it at this point.
  • This Is Gonna Suck:
    • Mufasa is angry at Simba after needing to save him at the elephant graveyard and says he needs to teach his son a lesson. Simba cowers and hesitates before coming to his father's side.
    • Timon points this out to Pumbaa after realizing Simba is more interested in Nala than them.
    • The hyenas react this way when Simba returns, since they now have a vengeful fully grown cub and their angry boss confronting them about not doing the job properly the first time.
  • 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 are close friends.
  • 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.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Timon and Pumbaa, while helpful in raising Simba and bringing him out of misery, convince him to ignore his past and responsibilities. Justified in that they didn't know he was the king; when Timon finds out, he wants to know why Simba didn't tell them. He and Pumbaa also come to Pride Rock to help Simba take it back, because he's family.
  • 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.
  • Tyrannicide: At the end of the movie it is implied that Scar is killed (and devoured) by his own starving hyena henchmen.
  • Underestimating Badassery: As cubs, Simba tries to pounce on Nala after they get into an argument over who deserves credit for the two of them losing Zazu, with Simba trying to give himself credit for both the plan and pulling it off but Nala saying it was her idea and he pulled it off with her. After pouncing Nala, she easily flips Simba and pins him with almost no effort, much to his shock and embarrassment. After shoving her off him he tries to pounce her again while she isn't looking but after sending them over a hill she ends up pinning him once again, and smugly rubs it in his face.
  • Undying Loyalty: Zazu and Rafiki display unwavering loyalty to the royal family. Timon and Pumbaa develop the same loyalty through their friendship with Simba.
    Timon: Well Simba, if it's important to you, we're with you to the end!
  • Unsportsman Like Gloating: Downplayed with Nala teasing Simba after pinning him as cubs. The first time she beats him she chuckles and playfully teases him "Pinned ya" with a big smile, showing its in good fun. After he pushes her off him though she has a smug victorious smile on her face. After she immediately beats him again after he pounces her again, she smirks down at him and taunts him "pinned ya again" in a more smug and arrogant voice than her previous playful one. Possibly justified as Simba had previous tried to take credit for her ideanote  and he was the one who started both of the fights, but still noticeable as Simba is her best friend and was prince at the time.
  • Verbal Backspace: A few examples:
    • When Scar is king, Zazu and Banzai have to back up from mentions of Mufasa, which Scar has forbidden.
    • Then at the end, Scar has to defend himself from the hyenas, whom he tried to scapegoat while bargaining for his life against Simba. They were too hungry to listen to him.
  • Vertigo Effect: During the wildebeest stampede, as Simba realizes they are heading straight for him.
  • Villain Decay: Scar starts out as a Manipulative Bastard that manipulates everybody and actually achieves his goal by usurping the throne. And after that he degrades into a whiny oaf, a terrible leader, and a Manchild, as he acts like an overgrown toddler. Granted, that's the entire point: Scar wants the title and privileges of being king, not the responsibilities, and indeed only becomes a threat again when he's challenged.
  • Villainous Badland, Heroic Arcadia: Scar and the hyenas lurk in the Elephant Graveyard, a grey, rocky wasteland filled with bones and massive skeletons and visible from Pride Rock as a patch of shadow on the horizon. Scar manages to turn the Pride Lands into a second version of this once he takes over — somehow, he's such a terrible ruler that the rain stops falling, the rivers dry up and all the animals leave; the first thing that happens when Simba kicks him out is that the rain starts falling again. A big part of the hyenas' motivation for following Scar to begin with is based on getting access to the Pride Lands and the abundant food there, which they normally can't get because the lions keep them out and their own home base has nothing to eat.
  • Villainous Glutton: The hyenas were driven away from the Pride Lands prior to the film both due to the species' apparently innate sadism and because their over-eating habits are capable of throwing off the balance of the circle of life. Once Scar usurps the throne and allows them to hunt freely in his kingdom, it only takes a few years for the lush fields to be replaced by a wasteland, rivers to dry out and prey populations to decay.
  • Villain Reveals the Secret: Scar exploits this trope to blame Simba for his father's death. Much to the latter's mother's horror and awe, the young lion publicly admits his crime. It turns out in the following Near-Villain Victory that Simba was innocent in the first place (well, the audience knew that since the first part of the movie).
  • Villain Song: "Be Prepared" (also a Villain Recruitment Song for the hyenas).
  • Visual Pun: In "I Just Can't Wait to be King", Simba says that "I'm gonna be the mane event" while he has a mane of leaves on his face.
  • Vine Swing: Simba swings on vines, usually with his mouth, 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 and Simba's stomach fills up the screen.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Invoked; when Scar cowers before Simba and says the hyenas made him kill Mufasa, Simba doesn't buy it. He growls, "Why should I believe you? Everything you told me was a lie." That includes professing he cared about Simba as a cub, blaming him for his father's death, and calling him a murderer.
  • Weird Moon: There is a shot at night at Pride Rock where we see the moon and the horns of the crescent extending an average of three-quarters of a circle, essentially rendering Earth smaller than the moon.
  • "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 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, chiding him for forgetting 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 that while he was disappointed in him for abandoning the Pride Lands and forgetting who he used to be, as long as he is true to himself and who Mufasa raised him to be, his spirit will be very proud of him indeed.
  • We Need a Distraction: When Simba, Nala, Timon and Pumbaa sneak back to Pride Rock they encounter a pack of hyenas blocking their way leading to a classic Gilligan Cut.
    Simba: C'mon Timon, you guys have to create a diversion.
    Timon: What do you want me to do, dress in drag and do the hula?
  • Wham Line:
    • When Scar shows up to feed the hyenas and chide them for not killing Simba or Nala. Banzai asks, "What were we supposed to do? Kill Mufasa?" Scar leans forward and smirks. "Precisely." Scar then starts explaining via "Be Prepared" his plan to get rid of Mufasa and Simba.
    • The hyenas approach Scar after Simba tosses him off Pride Rock. When he calls them friends, Shenzi laughs and says, "Friends? I thought he said we were the enemy." Cue a horde of hungry hyenas eating Scar alive.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What did happen to Scar's hyenas after Scar got defeated? Of course, given the editing, it's possible they were consumed in the wildfire around Pride Rock during the climax (the sequel implies Scar ultimately burned to death, lending credence to this).
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: While mammals and birds are shown to be intelligent and capable of speech and forming relationships, insects are treated like, well, insects, with the insectivores Timon and Pumbaa eating live insects at the same leisure as a herbivore eating grass.
  • 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.
  • Who's on First?: Nala's attempt to explain matters to Timon and Pumbaa after Simba decides to return home:
    Timon: Hey, what's going on here? Who's the monkey?
    Nala: Simba's gone back to challenge Scar.
    Timon: Who?
    Nala: Scar.
    Pumbaa: Who's got a scar?
    Nala: No, no, no. It's his uncle.
    Timon: The monkey's his uncle?
  • 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 a long time but eventually overcomes his guilt after his father's ghost chides him and goes back to tell his uncle to step down and take his place. He ends up triumphing, of course.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: A talent of Scar's although he ultimately does it a little too much.
  • Xylophones for Walking Bones: A xylophone can be heard throughout "Be Prepared", but while bones are seen throughout, there aren't any living skeletons. One quick scene does come close, though: two hyenas are playing with some skeletons, pretending to make them dance. There's also a hyena playing the xylophone part on a ribcage.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: The reason why Simba goes into exile is that Scar tells him he is to blame for Mufasa's death. Rafiki shows him that Mufasa is alive — inside of Simba — and his memory makes it clear to Simba that he doesn't blame his son for what happened, but tells him the right thing to do is return to Pride Rock and retake his place. As Simba is still hesitating, Rafiki whacks him with a stick to demonstrate how the past can hurt, but he can learn from it and then confront his demons. Simba decides to toss away Rafiki's stick and return.
  • You Killed My Father: When Simba realizes that Scar killed Mufasa, Simba pins him down and yells, "Murderer!"
  • You Won't Like How I Taste: When the hyenas complain to Scar about the lack of food, Scar just tells them to eat Zazu. Zazu gets terrified and tells the hyenas that he'd be too gamey for them to chew. Scar snidely says he'll taste fine with some lemon.
  • Zerg Rush:
    • At the climax of the movie, dozens of hyenas pounce on Scar and eat him alive. He barely gets time to struggle.
    • In the original script and some picture book adaptations, Scar doesn't make Simba "confess" to killing Mufasa. He sets the hyenas on him, nearly forcing Simba off the cliff. The reason why the lionesses don't help is the ambush is too sudden, and they have a barricade of hyenas standing between them.


Mufasa: Everything the light touches is TV Tropes.
Simba: Wow. But what about that shadowy place?
Mufasa: That's the Darth Wiki. You must never go there, Simba.

 
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When Simba introduces Nala as his best friend, Timon needs some explaining, as Nala had just tried to eat Pumbaa, and lions aren't normally friendly with prey animals like them, Simba excepting.

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