Sithi uhm ingonyama." note
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.
A plot described by some as Hamlet, Macbeth and the Malian epic Sundiata Keita, with a few hints of Henry IV, but with Talking Animals; however, its greatest similarity is to the Anime series Kimba the White Lion, which The Lion King has often been accused of plagiarising. 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 good but notoriously hard 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.
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 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:
- 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-handrawn-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.
- 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, Pumba and Timon are walking across a log and we see Simba change from a cub into an adult.
- The Alleged Boss:
- Prior to becoming king, Scar was this to the hyenas. His plan required recruiting them with promise of good food and care and they had no problem snarking and back talking him. After the plan goes through they seem more fearful of him, until his fateful double cross where they make quite clear he is still very much this.
- Among the hyenas themselves, Shenzi acts more like a friend of Banzai and Ed than the leader and similarly shrugs off a lot of sass and arguing.
- 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. 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 move) 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-Holocene period.
- 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: The song "Be Prepared", in which Scar rallies the Hyenas into setting up a new age in Pride Rock, ruled by Scar and the Hyenas. The Nazi symbolism is quite clear during a sequence when the Hyenas goose step (the most evilest march ever) by Scar. The scene is directly inspired by Triumph of the Will. This makes the song especially chilling if you watch it in either Hebrew or German..
- Animal Ladder: Zazu at the end of "I Just Can't Wait to be King" ends up at the bottom of one.
- 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 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 relativity early in the first act, and the last two right before and during the film's climax.
- "Remember who you are." by Mufasa
- "It is time." by Rafiki
- Armor-Piercing Question:Simba: (annoyed by Rafiki) Who are you, anyway?
Rafiki: Ah, the real 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.
- The look on Simba's face says it all.
- Arranged Marriage: Simba and Nala; a rare happy one, although they're not too thrilled by the idea when they first find out.Young Simba: But I can't marry her! She's my friend!
Young Nala: Yeah! It'd be so weird!
- Artistic License Biology: See here.
- Artistic Licence - Geography: The film appears to take place in the Serengeti, which is in Tanzania (the striking profile of Mt Kilimanjaro seen at the start is a bit of a giveaway), and most of the names are Swahili; a language spoken in Tanzania. However, the song lyrics, when not in English, are in isiZulu, which is spoken in South Africa. This is the equivalent of scoring a film set in Spain with songs sung in Russian.
- Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!:Zazu: (trapped) Let me out, let me out!
Timon: (chased) Let me in, let me in!
- Award-Bait Song: "Can You Feel The Love Tonight." ("Circle of Life" also earned nominations, but that one is the only that fits the "Award Bait" formula.)
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: There 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.
- Babies Ever After: Simba and Nala's cub appears in the final scene, hoisted by Rafiki as Simba was.
- Backstab Backfire: Scar would have won his last fight if he had not chosen to tell Simba who was really responsible for Mufasa's death. And he still might have survived it if he hadn't tried to blame everything on the hyenas (who were practically his only supporters at that point and the three looked to be sneaking up behind Simba to give Scar aid, backing off when they heard him) before he ended up needing their help.
- Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: The hyenas are none too happy about Scar trying to throw them under the bus earlier, and they're mighty hungry...
- Batman Gambit: A particular talent of Scar's. He plays everyone like a fiddle because he knows them so well.
- Battle Amongst the Flames: One of the most famous examples occurs at the end.
- Beauty = 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.
- 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, but yet, once 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".
Banzai: And I thought things were bad under Mufasa!
- 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 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.
- Berserk Button:
- While ruling as King, Scar cannot stand hearing Mufasa's name, to the point that he makes a law against saying it.
- Pumbaa is called a pig, prompting him to say "Are you talking to me?! They call me MISTER PIG!" before attacking. However he doesn't mind when Timon or Simba call him one; it's just strangers.
- 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 Nice Ones: Pumbaa is generally friendly and well-mannered (apart from his farting), but calling him a pig is a Berserk Button. Makes sense in this case, as despite his niceness he is still a boar warthog.
- 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 Bad: Scar, whose desire to become king causes the main conflict of the film.
- Big Damn Heroes:
- Mufasa arrives just in time to rescue Simba and Nala when the hyena finally have them cornered in the Elephant Graveyard.
- 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.
- 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 Good: Mufasa, the noble king of the Pride Lands.
- Big Gulp: The hyenas, when a returning Simba earns them a Death Glare from Scar.
- Big "NO!":
- Twice by Simba. When Mufasa dies and when Simba finds out who did it.
- Scar just before he is devoured by the hyenas.
- Bilingual Bonus:
- "Hakuna Matata" is a touristy phrase — versus Hamna Shida — translating roughly as "there are no worries" in Swahili.
- The first line of Rafiki's chant is "Asante sana squash banana." In context, it doesn't mean anything, but "asante sana" is Swahili for "thank you very much." In addition, the second line does mean "You're a baboon and I am not".
- 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 (even 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?
- 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.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the middle of "Hakuna Matata", Timon and Pumbaa do this.Pumbaa: And I got down-hearted...
Timon: How did you feel?
Pumbaa: Every time that I—
Timon: [claps hands over Pumbaa's mouth] HEY, PUMBAA! [looks right at the fourth wall] Not in front of the kids!
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: Arguable, and possibly unintended. Early on, Scar said that he would be a monkey's uncle when Simba becomes king. Later, when Nala is looking for Simba after he 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 don't believe it. He's gone back.
[looks up and sees Rafiki has appeared]
Timon: Hey, what's going on here? Who's the monkey?
Nala: Simba's gone back to challenge Scar.
Pumbaa: Who's got a scar?
Nala: No, no, no. It's his uncle.
Timon: The monkey's his uncle?
Nala: No! Simba's gone back to challenge his uncle to take his place as king.
Timon and Pumbaa: (beat) Oh.
- Broken Aesop: 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. Scar again puts the blame on Simba for causing his father's death, Simba starts to doubt himself again ,and the other lions doubt 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Zazu, who starts out as Mufasa's PR guy and constantly finds himself at the butt of Simba's antics. After Scar takes over, he is reduced to being nothing but a source of entertainment for Scar, and is almost eaten by the hyenas on several occasions.
- Of the three hyenas, Banzai has always received the most physical punishment, such as the many claw-marks we see him with in the graveyard, and him falling into the thorns.
- 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: Mufasa and Scar.
- Carnivore Confusion: Solved by having Simba eating bugs, a Truth in Television since real lions are happy to eat them if necessary. Averted when Nala stalks and nearly kills Pumbaa, but then backs off when she has her reunion with Simba. With no recourse at all, the movie "solves" these troubling issues by Lampshading and then ignoring them, 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. Yet 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cheerful Child: Young Simba.
- 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: At least once, to great effect.
- Clear My Name: Not a few minutes after being coerced by his uncle to falsely claim to the other lionesses full responsibility for Mufasa's death, Simbanote is able to successfully get Scar to admit to the lioness pride that he was the one who plotted and carried out Mufasa's murder.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Ed.
- Comically Cross-Eyed: Ed is the most dim-witted of the Laughably Evil Terrible Trio of hyenas, and fittingly, he has Fish Eyes (as well as a Maniac Tongue).
- Comically Missing the Point:
- This exchange:Timon: Gee. He looks blue.
Pumbaa: I'd say brownish-gold.
Timon: No, no, no. I mean he's depressed.
- 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).
- This exchange:
- Coming-of-Age Story: Centered on Simba.
- 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 1½.
- Convection Schmonvection: The "Be Prepared" sequence seems to have happened in a lava hotspot.
- Convenient Cranny: As a cub Simba runs from the pride lands, hyenas on his tail, he squeezes through a tiny passageway. One of the hyenas swipes its claws where he vanished just moments before.
- The Coup: Mufasa is killed by Scar so he can become king. Simba eventually launches a counter-coup to regain his throne.
- Cradle of Loneliness: Simba briefly makes Mufasa's body cradle him just after Mufasa's death.
- Cruel and Unusual Death:
- Mufasa, when he is flung off the gorge cliff and plummets to the ground far below. It is unclear whether the fall killed him or if initially surviving with major injuries he was still (semi-)conscious when he is crushed repeatedly by the wildebeest stampede.
- Scar, although justice is served, it can still be seen as rather "cruel" when he is mauled by his former hyena stooges and concurrently burned to death.
- Cruel Mercy: Simba corners Scar at his mercy and after a climactic fight scene, eventually sends him off the edge of Pride Rock, where Scar is now at the cruel mercy of his hyena henchman, who finish the job on their traitorous leader.
- Crush Parade: Mufasa saves Simba from this, but gets knocked away. Simba looks on at the stampede in horror, but then Mufasa emerges and climbs up the cliff to meet Scar, who throws him off and sends him falling back down to it.
- Crying Wolf: Simba says to Scar, "Why should I believe you? Everything you ever told me was a lie."
- Cub Cues Protective Parent: Played with. The birdy boiler sends Zazu flying far enough to summon Mufasa on his own, and Simba's roar (?) helps Mufasa to zero in on his and Nala's location.
- 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.
- 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!"
- Dark Chick: Shenzi.
- Darker and Edgier: Compared to other Disney films of the period. It is, in fact, a very tense, pathos-filled drama rather than the usual fairy tale romantic comedy.
- Dark Is Evil: Scar is the darkest of the lions and has a black mane.
- 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, so good to see you... alive.*the hyenas gulp*
- Demoted to Extra: Zazu in the second half.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Dirty Coward: Scar is perfectly happy to order everyone else about and let them do all the work, but when Simba has him cornered at the top of Pride Rock near the end, he begs for mercy and pins the blame on the hyenas to try and save his own skin. They overheard him do it, and later, when he's left at their mercy, he's last heard trying to explain himself before the hyenas kill him.
- 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!"
- Disney Acid Sequence: "I Just Can't Wait to Be King". Justified this time, because the sequence is supposed to capture Simba's childish perspective during the song.
- Disney Death: Averted. Contrary to Baloo in The Jungle Book (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?:
Simba: Heh heh. You're so weird.
- Goose-stepping hyenas. The scene was based off of the Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will, from the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
- The king's brother overthrowing (and killing) him, and the prince is persuaded by the ghost of his father?
- A quote from Reversal of Fortune:
Scar: You have no idea.
- The Hyena 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.
- Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Invoked in-universe by Scar. He intentionally told Simba about the Elephant Graveyard outside the Pride Lands, and mentioned to him how only the bravest go there, knowing it would make Simba want to go there all the more. It was to lure Simba into a trap he set up with the hyenas.
- The Dragon: Shenzi. Quite possibly Dragon with an Agenda (see Better Living Through Evil above).
- Co-Dragons: Though Shenzi is the ringleader (as befitting their species), Banzai and Ed are her friends (and fairly impudent ones), hence this.
- Dramatic Irony: The second half of the movie is centered around this trope. 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.
- 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!
Shenzi: What, you want me to come out there looking like you? Cactus-Butt?
- 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 Lets See YOU Do Better at her though, she just keeps laughing).
- Dynamic Entry:
- The hyenas chase Simba and Nala to a corner of the elephant graveyard. As they calmly close in for the kill, Simba suddenly feels brave enough to "roar", which they find laughable. The second roar, however, is considerably more startling to them.
- 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.
- The ending has a chilling case of Just Desserts. 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.
- Eccentric Mentor: Rafiki looks like a crazy old monkey, but has great wisdom (and kung-fu skills).
- Elephant Graveyard: The base of operation for Scar and the home of the hyenas.
- 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.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: What Scar offers to the 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?: This happens when Scar kills Mufasa.
- Euphemism Buster: Scar has to backtrack and Euphemism Bust himself thanks to dumb hyenas:
- Evil Counterpart: Scar serves as this to Simba.
- Evil Gloating: Scar admits to Simba that he killed Mufasa while he dangles him over Pride Rock. This backfires.
- Evil Is Burning Hot:
- Evil Is Petty: Scar can be considered the absolute biggest scumbag of any Disney villain based solely on what he does and why: he murders his brother and guilt-trips his nephew so he can take over the pride land for really no other reason than to have the status of king. Likewise, once he is in power, he really doesn't do anything other than tell everyone else what to do, most of the time telling them to deal with their problems themselves, which, ironically, are all things the king is responsible for (i.e., food and safety). The only time Scar takes responsibility for anything he does is when he thinks he's about to kill Simba and confesses being Mufasa's murderer, assuming that he'll get away with it. When he doesn't, his first reaction is to blame the hyaenas... until he's at their mercy, at which point they're his "friends". Indeed, there is no honor among criminals.
- Evil Will Fail: Even if Simba hadn't shown up and pulled a Rightful King Returns, Scar's rule over the lion pride would have collapsed anyway since he'd driven the pridelands to the point of ecological ruin.
- 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-Unfriendly Death:
- Mufasa's death while his son watches, and Simba's repeated pleas for him to "wake up, Dad" while desperately nudging his corpse.
- The fight between Simba and Scar ends with Scar being eaten alive (or at the very least being mauled to death) by his hyena henchmen (cast in shadow, but still!). The sequel makes it even worse by implying that he might have been burned to death as well.
- Family-Unfriendly Violence: Scar and Simba's brief no-holds-barred beatdown, and Mufasa's death as implied (but not shown).
- Fisher King: When Mufasa is in charge, his wise leadership makes the land around Pride Rock a beautiful place of peace and plenty. When Scar is the king, the same land turns into a dark and dying graveyard, due to his poor leadership and the hyenas eating and taking almost everything there is, reflecting his own dark personality. Once Simba assumes the throne, everything goes pretty again.
- 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.
- 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.
- Foreshadowing: At the climax of "I Just Can't Wait to be King" when the tower of animals collapses, it can be interpreted as either Played for Laughs (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.
- For The Cel Of It: The wildebeest from the stampede sequence are CGI, but cel-shaded to look like traditional animation.
- Frameup and False Confession: After Scar kills Mufasa, he gets Simba to believe he's responsible, leading to Simba's running away. Simba believes this until the Just Between You and Me moment in the final act, even to the point of confessing himself to his mother and the rest of the pride.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: There's a famous myth that the dust clouds form the letters SEX for a split second. They actually spell SFX.
- This bonus was removed from the Platinum edition DVD, Diamond Edition Blu-ray, and assumedly all subsequent releases of the film. It is referenced in the audio commentary, though.
- Full-Boar Action: Pumbaa, once his Berserk Button is pressed one time too many.
- Funny Background Event: Timon and Pumbaa swing on a vine in the background during young Simba's solo in "Hakuna Matata". Pumbaa does this at the beginning of the theme song in the TV series.
- Also, 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
- Also, 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.
- 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.
- The Generalissimo: Scar is your stereotypical fascist, Generalissimo. He murders his way to power, crushes all dissent, and annihilates his land's natural resources.
- 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.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: This could well be the only G-rated movie to feature a sex scene, between Simba and Nala during the "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" sequence. Perhaps the sole reason it got past the censors both at Disney and the MPAA is because it's animal sex, which has only managed to score a TV-PG at highest whenever depicted on the PBS series Nature.
- Gilligan Cut:
- 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: Played straight with lions and hyenas. Scar is the glaring exception to the former. No truly good hyenas have, to date, appeared in the films, although the TV Series implies that Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed settle for neutrality following the movie, and Lion Guard introducing Jasiri's Clan, who claim that Shenzi's clan are the exception, rather than the rule, when it comes to Hyenas?
- The Good King: Mufasa. And Simba after his return to the Pridelands.
- Gory 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.
- 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.
- G-Rated Sex: At the end of "Can You Feel The Love Tonight", confirmed by Disney itself. From the DVD audio commentary narrated by directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff and producer Don Hahn:"This is probably the most steamy love scene in a Disney film ever!"
- All the more obvious in the original, pre-production version, where there's very little room for doubt.
- Hakuna Matata: Trope Namer.
- A Handful for an Eye: Right before their fight, Scar blinds Simba by kicking hot coals into his face.
- Hair Flip: Scar does one during "Be Prepared".
- 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.
- Hate Sink: Scar starts the film off as any typical Disney villain, Obviously Evil but with a witty and charming personality for the audience to enjoy. But once he becomes king, he loses all of his charms and devolves into a Psychopathic Manchild who leads the Pride Lands to ruin out of his own incompetence, abusing and blaming everyone but himself for the problems he has caused. He is ultimately mauled by his hyena minions after they realize he's willing to betray them to save his own hide.
- Held Gaze: Simba and Nala gaze deeply into each other's eyes at the end of their Falling-in-Love Montage of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" before nuzzling each other in a manner that resembles a kiss.
- Heroic Second Wind: When Scar has Simba right where he wants him (desperately trying to keep his grip on the ledge of Pride Rock but about to fall off), and he admits that he killed Mufasa (in what he thinks will be a Just Between You and Me moment, before throwing Simba to his death) ... Simba (who relives watching his father being thrown to his death in what could well be his final moments) instead lunges up the rest of the cliff, pinning his evil uncle and forcing him to reveal the truth to the others.
- He's a Friend: Simba to Nala for Pumbaa.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Timon and Pumbaa. Maybe.
- 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 Is Scary: One problem about getting Simba to come back.
- 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...
- 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 finishing his report and getting pounced by Simba, a groundhog pops up to deliver "news from the underground".
- Timon's line, "What's the motto with you?"
- In "I Just Can't Wait to be King", Simba does say that "I'm gonna be the mane event" while he has a mane of leaves on his face.
- 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)
- Scar to Zazu when the latter's intervening made the field mouse the former was going to eat escape: "Look Zazu, you made me lose my lunch."
- Talks Like a Simile: In the same scene, Zazu tells Scar that "You'll lose more than that when the king gets through with you! He's as mad as a hippo with a hernia."
- Zazu's morning report. The Special Edition's new song has even more of them.
- The Hyena: A ton of them. Three main ones. Ed is the one that fits the trope the most.
- Hypocrite:Simba: You don't deserve to live.
Scar: But Simba... I am family.
- Idiotic Partner Confession: Provides the trope quote.
Shenzi: Ohhhh, that's your son! This is your son, I didn't know he was your son. Did you, Banzai?
- Also happens with Ed when Mufasa confronts the hyenas.
Banzai: No, I had no idea, did you?
Shenzi: No, of course not, no!
Ed: (grins and nods excitedly)
- If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Averted and invoked by Simba in his final fight with Scar.
- I'll Kill You!:Shenzi: He's as good as dead out there anyway. And IF he comes back, we'll kill him.
Banzai: Yeah! D'you hear that? If you ever come back, we'll kill ya!
- I Kiss Your Foot: Pumbaa, after learning Simba is the king.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.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: The hyenas start out as this somewhat. Once Scar enlists them however they become a much bigger threat.
- 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?
- 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."
- Irony: The whole song "I Just Can't Wait to Be King". Turns out Simba could wait.
- 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'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.
- 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: Prompting Simba's Heroic Resolve / You Killed My Father reaction.
- Just Desserts: Scar gets a Karmic Death as his hungry and angry hyena minions devour him.
- 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.
- Keet: Simba occasionally shows a bit of this as a cub. Also possibly as an adult, thanks to living with Timon and Pumbaa.
- King of Beasts: It is about a lions monarchy.
- Knight of Cerebus: Scar. The film begins quite cheerful, but when Scar tries to kill Simba and kills his own brother and takes power, the film definitely becomes quite dark. He may be this to the whole franchise as he's the first Disney villain to successfully kill a main character.
- Large and in Charge: Mufasa is the biggest and brawniest lion in the film.
- Large Ham: Scar and Timon. Pumbaa is a literal example.
- The hyena trio as well, expecially Banzai.
- Late to the Realization: Zazu, even after being told by Mufasa to turn around, and obeying the order willingly, continues to ramble on before realizing that he's the target of Simba's pouncing lesson:Zazu: Sire, what is going on?
Mufasa: A pouncing lesson.
Zazu: Ah, 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.
- 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's Get Dangerous!: Pumbaa, the friendly and kind warthog and Rafiki, the eccentric monkey shaman both show surprisingly good fighting skills during the climax.
- 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?
- A Dog Named "Dog": Simba is a lion and "Simba" means "lion" in Swahili.
- 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.
- Literal-Minded: Pumbaa.Timon: Gee, he looks blue.
Pumbaa: I'd say brownish-gold.
- Love Redeems: Simba may have killed his father (or so he thought) and happily let the pride become a desert while he sings "Hakuna Matata", but he meets Nala again and returns.
- Love Theme: "Can You Feel the Love Tonight"
- Lying on a Hillside: Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa when stargazing, although it isn't actually a hillside they're on.
- Magical Negro: Rafiki is the only character who speaks with an African accent, and he is a mystical shaman.
- 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.
- 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 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:
"Ed?" ( Evil laughter)
- "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 rethorically question each other about the cub presence in the graveyard scene, Ed concluding with an hysterical laugh. They echo themselves at the end, but with a much darker overtone:
- Meaningful Name: Every name can be translated from Swahili (except Ed, Timon and Scar), 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.
- Mufasa means king, and he's king of the Pride Lands and the elder of two brothers.
- 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. Of course, she is part of a species excluded from the "civilized" Pride Lands because they don't respect its rules, but that seems to be true for every hyena. Unless it means she is worse than the other.
- Medium Awareness:Pumbaa: Every time that I—!
Timon: Hey Pumbaa! Not in front of the kids!
- 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: The 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, 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: South American Giant Anteaters and Leaf Cutting Ants 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, and mandrills like Rafiki are from the jungles of West 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.
- Mood Whiplash: Constantly.
- Perhaps most notably when we go from Mufasa and Simba's funeral and Rafiki crossing out Simba's outline to... bowling for buzzards! (the comic relief was badly needed 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.
- 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".
- 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?
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.
- Mouthy Kid: Simba. A lot. Too much.
- Multilingual Song: "The Circle Of Life", which has lyrics in both English and Zulu.
- My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Following the Heroic Resolve above.
- Natural Spotlight: The king being held to the sky. There aren't even any clouds to justify the light slits.
- Never 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.
- The hyenas for breaking off the chase after Simba manages to lose them in the briar patch (Shenzi had a point that Simba probably wouldn't survive in the desert, although it was just an assumption). Needless to say, Scar pays for their lack of responsibility years later when Simba returns fully grown.
- Scar 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.
- 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.
- "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 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.
- 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.
- Not in Front of the Kid:
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Let's see, Scar KILLS MUFASA, and is perfectly able to go toe-to-toe with Simba in the climax. A bit out of place considering that he groans about getting the brains and none of the brawn in the beginning, but makes some sense when you consider that Simba has apparently lived only on insects and has been in a total of one fight (that he lost). This plot point makes even more sense when taking into account Scar's original character design as a much more bulky and brawny lion.
- Not So Different: Simba as a kid has the mentality that when they become king, they could do anything they want and no-one would be able to stop them (although when young Simba says this, Mufasa immediately advises him against this). Scar later says the exact same thing.
- Obviously Evil: At the very beginning of the movie, Scar straight up tells Mufasa to his face that Mufasa should be wary of him, that he covets the throne and is bitter towards Simba, and that if he ever does try something, it won't be through a direct challenge. And then there's Scar's design itself, where its hard to believe the two lions are even related.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- O.O.C. 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 original Lion King film only mentions that the Great Kings live in the stars upon dying. Nothing is stated about other lions or non-lions. Zira in the sequel asking Scar to look after Nuka upon his death in implies that regular lions aren't barred from an afterlife, but it's otherwise undiscussed in the films. The semi-canon Spin-Offspring show The Lion Guard shows that animals turn into spirits.
- Pain-Powered Leap: Banzai the hyena jumps about 30 feet into the air after he is knocked into a bramble thicket by the other hyenas.
- Pale Females, Dark Males: Nearly all the lionesses are lighter compared to the lions, except Sarabi.
- Papa Wolf: Mufasa is usually wise and level-headed, but he will fight hyenas and leap into a wildebeest stampede if Simba's in danger.
- 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?
- Please Wake Up: In one of the most heartbreaking examples, Simba does this to Mufasa shortly after he dies. It even provides the trope image!
- Pop-Star Composer: Elton John 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Scar and the Hyenas. The Hyenas act very childish at times, as they argue in a way children would and say things like "no king! no king! la! la! la!' while Scar throws toddler-like temper tantrums when he becomes king and is only interested in becoming a king for the reasons a child would.
- 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 The Triumph Of The Will. On top of that, Scar's rhetoric is right out of Hitler's mouth:Scar: I will be king! Stick with me, and you'll NEVER GO HUNGRY AGAIN!!!
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: The hyena trio. Although they're unusually frightening, effective villains for this trope when they're interacting with Simba.
- 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:
- Being king means you have to take care of certain responsibilities. If you don't, you won't last long, as Scar gets despised by everybody for neglecting those responsibilities. As Mufasa told Simba, "There's more to being King than getting your way all the time." The Lion Guard would later depict Simba's mundane, day-to-day activities as king.
- 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.
- Recycled In Space: The film is based on Hamlet.
- Redemption in the Rain: It's raining when Simba climbs Pride Rock at the end. A clear case of the rain being "purifying" and symbolizing new life, as the sequence includes a gazelle's skull being dislodged and washed away.
- 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.
- The Resenter: Scar to Mufasa. Also The hyenas toward the lions, and viceversa.
- 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.
- Rewatch Bonus: When Zazu informs Simba and Nala of their engagement, "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" is playing in the background.
- Rhetorical Question Blunder: Used in the lead up to "Be Prepared". As Scar berates the hyenas for failing to kill Simba and Nala, Shenzi mentions that it wasn't like they were alone and Banzai asks "What were we supposed to do? Kill Mufasa?" Scar response with a murderous "Precisely."
- Ribcage Ridge: The elephant graveyard.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- Scenery Porn: Especially during "The Circle of Life".
- Lampshaded when Simba gets a good look at Timon and Pumbaa's jungle. "It's beautiful!"
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Pumbaa after seeing Nala preparing to pounce and attack him.
- 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.
- Second Coming: Simba returning to his home to take his place as king.
- Seldom-Seen Species:
- Several, most famously Timon the meerkat. Most people in the Americas had no idea what a meerkat was before this film was released.
- 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-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.
- Seven Deadly Sins: Scar suffers from all of these sins.
- He believes himself to be deserving of power. He also refuses to abandon the Pride Lands, even if it means the death of his subjects. (Pride)
- He acts indolent even as the Pride Lands fall into ruin. (Sloth)
- He enjoys food while letting the rest of his kingdom, including his loyal followers, starve. (Gluttony)
- He is envious of his brother and nephew for getting the throne, and plots their deaths for it. (Envy)
- In a deleted scene, he comes onto Nala, eager to produce heirs. (Lust)
- He wants power and will destroy anyone to get it. (Greed)
- He gets enraged when Mufasa is mentioned to him, and he attacks Sarabi for comparing him unfavorably to Mufasa. (Wrath)
- 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: THEY CALL ME MR. PIG!
- 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.
- 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.
- Sketchy Successor: After Mufasa is killed, Scar takes over, and promptly turns the Ghibli Hills savannah into a desolate ruin. The Lion King is, according to Word of God, based off Hamlet.
- 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.
- The Smurfette Principle: Shenzi is the only major female character in the movie. Nala serves mainly as the Token Romance, Sarabi has only a few speaking scenes, and Sarafina is merely a background character.
- 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.
- Sore Loser: Simba is shown frustrated at being easily pinned by Nala, so while she's turning away from him he tries pouncing her again. He still loses and Nala's even more smug winning two in a row.
- 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".
- Spirit Advisor: Simba was unsure of what to do, and then saw an ominous Musafa in the sky, saying "Remember who you are".
- Spoiled Brat: Simba's initial attitude towards being Mufasa's heir. As the story progresses, however, he becomes more carefree and unconcerned about his past (i.e. being tricked into thinking he caused Mufasa's death), all the while forgetting about taking the throne.
- 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.
- 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.
- Stealth Insult: See Strange Minds Think Alike below.
- Stink Snub: In one scene, the hyenas are spitefully listing things they don't like about the lions. Shenzi calls them "stinky."
- Strange Minds Think Alike:Simba: When I'm king, what does that make you?
Scar: A monkey's uncle.
Nala: No, no, no, it's his uncle.
Timon: The monkey's his uncle?
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion:Pumbaa: And I got down-hearted...
Timon: How did you feel?!
Pumbaa: Every time that I—
Timon: Hey, Pumbaa! Not in front of the kids!
- Sustained Misunderstanding:Nala: Have you guys seen Simba?
Timon: I thought he was with you.
Nala: He was but now I can't find him. Where is he?
Rafiki: [chuckles] You won't find him here. The King has returned.
Nala: I don't believe it. He's gone back.
[looks up and sees Rafiki has disappeared]
Timon: Hey, what's going on here? Who's the monkey?
Nala: Simba's gone back to challenge Scar.
Pumbaa: Who's got a scar?
Nala: No, no, no. It's his uncle.
Timon: The monkey's his uncle?
Nala: No! Simba's gone back to challenge his uncle to take his place as king.
Timon and Pumbaa: (beat) Oh.
- Stupid Evil: Scar probably could have won if he didn't just have to tell Simba he's the one who really killed Musfasa
- Tastes Like Chicken: Timon eating a grub as big as himself in the middle of "Hakuna Matata".
- Terrible Trio: Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed, minions to Scar. Shenzi, the female, is the leader and the smart one, Banzai appears to think with his muscles, and Ed is either insane, retarded or faking it.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Shenzi — her eye patches are shaped like heavily applied eyeshadow, her mane extends to having bangs and a fringe, and she lacks the Perma-Stubble that both Banzai and Ed sport. Well, you have to be able to tell her from the guys somehow...note
- 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: After Mufasa is angry at Simba after saving him at the elephant graveyard, Mufasa says that he needs to teach his son a lesson, and Simba cowers. Simba hesitates coming to his father's side.
- 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 (although his anger was directed entirely at Scar) and their angry boss confronting them after not doing the job properly first time. Thankfully for them, they don't have to worry about either — Scar ends up in their stomachs, and while Simba might not be accepting of them, it's safe to say that, like Scar, he'd be willing to let them live (as long as they never returned, which they didn't).
- 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.
- Tomboy Princess: 90's-era Disney movies were known for these, and Nala is arguably the best example.
- Too Dumb to Live: Timon, Pumbaa, Zazu and the hyenas all show this at one point or another. Later in the film Scar really shouldn't have lied to Simba about Mufasa's death by blaming it on the hyenas. He pays for it dearly.
- 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.
- 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, then we're with you till the end!
- The Unintelligible: Ed the Hyena, although this trope uses laughter instead of the usual mumbling.
- 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.
- Unwitting Pawn: Simba naively trusts Scar as he sees him as a nice Cool Uncle and genuinely trusts his every word, something Scar repeatedly uses to get him killed.
- Vegetarian Carnivore: A variation: Simba begins eating insects at the insistence of his two friends.
- Verbal Backspace: A few examples:
- Vertigo Effect: During the wildebeest stampede.
- Vile Villain, Laughable Lackey: Scar's three stupid and constantly bickering hyena minions have this dynamic with him. Downplayed, as the hyenas, despite their stupidity and funny moments, can pose a real threat to the protagonists and in the end they turn against their master and kill 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- Vine Swing: Simba does this a few times.
- The Voiceless: Ed doesn't speaknote , instead communicating through body language and laughing.
- 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.
- "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.
- Wham Line: From Simba's perspective, when Scar is preparing to kill him in the same manner by which he killed Mufasa:Scar: And here's my little secret: (Whispering) I killed Mufasa.
- 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.
- What Measure Is a Non-Sapient Animal?: 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.
- 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.
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.
- Would Hit a Girl:
- Scar backhands Sarabi to the ground when she says he isn't half the king Mufasa was. Then, he realises Simba saw it.
- In addition, Banzai and Ed are willing to make a meal out of Nala, but not out of malice due to her gender.
- Simba is also willing to do this to his best friend Nala, starting fights with her and tackling her when they are just cubs, and later viciously gets into a serious fight with her to protect Timon and Pumbaa before he realizes it is her. Downplayed though because even though he is willing to fight her, he's never been able to beat her.
- Would Hurt a Child:
- Scar: His ruthlessness shows by putting the cub Simba in extreme danger twice. He tricks him into the gorge below Pride Rock, before sending with the hyenas' help a stampede of wildebeests through. Mufasa is able to rescue Simba. Later, as a mourning Simba goes into self-exile from the Pride Lands following his father's death Scar had convinced his nephew that the death was his fault Scar sends the hyenas after the cub; Simba's death here is averted as he makes his getaway.
- Shenzi and her friends, being hyenas, are ready to eat him and Nala after the kids wander onto the elephant graveyards. Mufasa shows up to scare them off.
- 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 Killed My Father: When Simba realizes that Scar killed Mufasa, Simba pins him down and yells, "Murderer!"
Simba: Wow. But what about that shadowy place?
Mufasa: That's the Darth Wiki. You must never go there, Simba.*