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Every one-star review for every number one box-office movie of the 1990s

The Lion King

Directed byRoger Allers, Rob Minkoff
Produced byDon Hahn
Screenplay byIrene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, Linda Woolverton
Story byBrenda Chapman, Barry Johnson, Andy Gaskill, Kevin Harkey, Tom Sito, Rick Maki, Burny Mattinson, Lorna Cook, Gary Trousdale, Jorgen Klubien, Larry Leker, Ed Gombert, Mark Kausler, Thom Enriquez, Jim Capobianco, Chris Sanders, Joe Ranft, Francis Glebas
StarringJonathan Taylor Thomas, Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Moira Kelly, Niketa Calame, Ernie Sabella, Nathan Lane, Robert Guillaume, Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, Jim Cummings, Madge Sinclair
Music byHans Zimmer
Edited byIvan Bilancio
Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Feature Animation
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release dateJune 15, 1994 (United States)
Running time88 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$45 million
Box office$968.5 million

The Lion King is a 1994 American animated musical drama film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 32nd Disney animated feature film, and the fifth animated film produced during a period known as the Disney RenaissanceThe Lion King was directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, produced by Don Hahn, and has a screenplay credited to Irene MecchiJonathan Roberts, and Linda Woolverton. Its original songs were written by composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, with a score by Hans Zimmer. The film features an ensemble voice cast that includes Matthew BroderickJames Earl JonesJeremy IronsJonathan Taylor ThomasMoira KellyNathan LaneErnie SabellaRowan AtkinsonRobert GuillaumeMadge Sinclair (in her last film role), Whoopi GoldbergCheech Marin, and Jim Cummings. The story takes place in a kingdom of lions in Africa and was influenced by the Biblical stories of Joseph and Moses, and William Shakespeare‘s Hamlet.

The Lion King tells the story of Simba (Swahili for lion), a young lion who is to succeed his father, Mufasa, as King of the Pride Lands; however, after Simba’s paternal uncle Scar murders Mufasa, Simba is manipulated into thinking he was responsible and flees into exile. After growing up in the company of the carefree outcasts Timon and Pumbaa, Simba receives valuable perspective from his childhood friend, Nala, and his shaman, Rafiki, before returning to challenge Scar to end his tyranny and take his place in the Circle of Life as the rightful King.

Development of The Lion King began in 1988 during a meeting between Jeffrey KatzenbergRoy E. Disney, and Peter Schneider while promoting Oliver & Company in Europe. Thomas M. Disch wrote a film treatment, and Woolverton developed the first scripts, while George Scribner was signed on as director, being later joined by Allers. Production began in 1991 concurrently with Pocahontas, which wound up attracting many of Disney’s top animators. Some time after the staff traveled to Hell’s Gate National Park in Kenya to research the film’s setting and animals, Scribner left production, disagreeing with the decision to turn the film into a musical, and was replaced by Minkoff. When Hahn joined the project, he was dissatisfied with the script and the story was promptly rewritten. Nearly 20 minutes of animation sequences were produced at the Disney-MGM Studios theme park in Florida. Computer animation was also used in several scenes, most notably in the wildebeest stampede sequence.

The Lion King was released on June 15, 1994, to a positive reaction from critics, who praised the film for its music, story, themes, and animation. With an initial worldwide gross of $763 million, it finished its theatrical run as the highest-grossing film of 1994 and the highest-grossing animated film. It is also the highest-grossing traditionally animated film of all time, as well as the best-selling film on home video, having sold over 30 million VHS tapes. On release, the film drew some controversy in Japan for its similarities to Osamu Tezuka‘s 1960s anime series Kimba the White LionThe Lion King garnered two Academy Awards for its achievement in music and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. The film has led to many derived works, such as a Broadway adaptation; two direct-to-video follow-ups—the sequel, The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride (1998), and the prequel/parallelThe Lion King 1½ (2004); two television series, Timon and Pumbaa and The Lion Guard; a 3D re-release in 2011; and a photorealistic remake in 2019, which also became the highest-grossing animated film at the time of its release.

In 2016, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. It is, as of December 2019, the only Disney film to have been dubbed in Zulu, the only African language aside from Arabic to have been used for a feature-length Disney dub.

The Lion King’s one-star reviews from IMDb from the last decade


Williamspeter-00945 14 July 2020

I was told this was a rip-off of Kimba the White Lion! I was excited to see that but this is nothing of the sort!!

Where’s the rampant racism and imperalism?! Why isn’t the dad’s corpse a major feature of the movie?! Why is there no horrific child abuse?! Why is the animation and voice acting good?!

If this is Disney’s idea of plagiarism, they’ve really got to up their game!!!

9 out of 16 found this helpful.

HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!! I HATE THIS MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!

Sgtgrizzlyb 27 February 2020

The Lion King?!?!? MORE LIKE THE LION LOSER!!!!!! THIS IS DEBATABLY ONE OF THE WORST DISNEY MOVIES OF THE 90S!!!!!! A RIPOFF OF KIMBA THE WHITE LION!!!!!!!!! The plot is generic, the characters have no likability at all and do not have any development in them, and the songs are some of the worst that I’ve ever heard in my life!!!!!!!! Its 2019 remake was worse!!!!!!! Whatever you do, DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME WATCHING THIS ATROCITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3 out of 23 found this helpful.

The Loin King: typical Disney dreck

Werewolffromplanetx 20 January 2020

Annoying songs, flat characters, derivative plot, looks like we’ve got a Disney movie. I seriously can’t figure out why this is in the top 100.

2 out of 15 found this helpful.

credibilityis the most important thing

Aisha_ali-72888 31 October 2019

I used to like the lion king since i was a kid, but after knowing that the movie that promoted as “Disney’s first original movie not based on anything” is actually stolen from anime called “Kimba the White Lion” created by Osamu Tezuka. I stopped liking the lion king, and lose all my trust in Disney.

8 out of 37 found this helpful.

Overrated rip-off

Deanpodbury 24 July 2019

Taking Kimba and claiming this mess “original” is just unforgivable.

6 out of 45 found this helpful.


Rashadrafe 27 May 2019

It’s good movie but it’s not the original because we live in unfair community

17 out of 62 found this helpful.

Okay…but massively overrated

Anguscastle 6 September 2016

Warning: Spoilers

The Lion King is easily one of the most popular Disney movies out there and perhaps that’s because it was very popular with kids at the time and those kids who have grown up now still consider it Disney’s best. It is a visual treat which underlines themes of love and loss.

But people call this the “adult” story of Disney and honestly, I find it to be one of the more childish entries in the Canon. Yes, Mufasa’s death is pretty hard for a kids film but after that, the movie just continues with a very childish tone. Take Timon and Puumba, for example, who are thrown into the plot to remedy the movie from being too heavy-handed.The scene where they’re looking up at the stars and make fun of Simba is rather disconcerting – they literally just laughed at him for speaking of his late father’s wisdom. Really? In general, the story is weak and really loses itself after Mufasa’s death.

The characters also weren’t as good as everyone says. Everyone claims Scar is the best Disney villain….but all he really did was kill his own brother, that’s literally it. Why would he send his minions to kill Simba when he’s knows how unreliable they are? And when he is in power, he’s just lazy. How did Scar gain the title of best Disney villain? Timon and Puumba are also extraneous to the plot just to keep the kids demographic interested. But the worst is Simba and Nala. Not only are they both bland and boring but the romance between them is rather questionable considering they could be brother and sister (or at least cousins).

The music is fine but it doesn’t quite live up to the works of Alan Menken and Howard Ashmen in previous Disney movies. The only two songs I loved were The Circle of Life and Be Prepared. Other than that, the soundtrack is somewhat weak. I just can’t wait to be King is frivolous and random to the plot, Hakuna Matata has some very stupid lyrics and a whole verse dedicated to a warthog’s flatulence, Can You feel the love tonight is a very syrupy song which just doesn’t work with its very weak lyrics – “Why won’t he be the king I know he is. The king I see inside”.

The Lion King can’t seem to keep up with its own maturity. The fart jokes, the bi-polar tone of being serious and silly, the questionable incest within the romance….it all just doesn’t work for me. A highly overrated movie.

15 out of 58 found this helpful

Rip Off Cheap Dumb Movie!

HonestReviews 29 March 2016

Warning: Spoilers

The top 250 films of all time this apparently is? Well obviously a bunch of chimpanzee’s must be deciding what films are featured on this list. The Lion King is a terrible film that is massively overrated. After watching it I felt I had seen the film before. The ideas were stolen from the films Tarzan and Ice Age! I couldn’t believe the people who made this film had ripped off two other films and got away with it, an absolute disgrace!

There are some poor elements of the film: 1. Hyenas. Hyenas got a lot of bad press because of this film, thousands must have died since it’s release. Anyone involved or who even bought or watched this film has the blood of innocent hyenas on their hands. 2. Animation. Very poor quality. We live in 2016, can we not get better technology now to produce better animations? 3. Jeremy Irons. Whilst not a bad actor, he is a complete hypocrite. There is a video where he actively speaks out against the death penalty. That’s pretty funny Irons considering you acted the role of Scar and had no problem killing off your own brother Mufasa. Hypocrite much?

Poor film that is not worth viewing. Don’t waste your time.

11 out of 72 found this helpful.

A sweet joke

Crash21 17 January 2016

I will admit whether they are original cartoons or CGI, Disney’s G-Rated are typically nothing but lame “sweet” crap. The story was lame, and (even worse) the movie had terrible music through all of it. The Lion King is one Disney movie that I saw when it first came out, and it proved this very well in 1994. The whole movie is simply telling kids to be brave and do what you’re told.

The memories of having to watch this movie will simply give you nightmares. Just watch something like the original 60’s “Flintstones” cartoons instead, they were much more entertaining than “The Lion King”.

15 out of 61 found this helpful

The honest voice, of this movie being too old and lame in terms of quality compared to titles of this time.

Indiesoftgaming 10 August 2015

Warning: Spoilers

This movie is way too overrated to be in the top 1000 of any lists. Why? This movie’s plot is way too generic. A lot of movies that were made before this had the same plot of someone trying to impress the people around him and becoming the hero while a villain tries to stop them. Movies like avatar are WAY underrated for their fantastic storyline and effects. Be sure to like this review, so people can get their ratings right to today’s times, and not let NOSTALGIA get in the way of honest ratings. If you haven’t watched this movie as a child, you definitely won’t enjoy it watching it now. This is not the only one, as series like avatar: the last airbender also confuse people into thinking that the movie Avatar is in any way linked to that series, which is not true at all. It’s all nostalgia feelings and will pass when the next generation of people who haven’t watched this empty movie will start writing reviews.

8 out of 57 found this helpful


Isabellebursik 30 April 2014

Hyenas are now hated for this stupid movie. And lions are not the kings of the beasts. It just sucks! It is my least favorite movie of all time. If I was to chose between watching the lion king and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, I would chose Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. I have no idea what people see in this movie. I would give it a negative number if I could. HYENAS KILL LIONS! I just hate it. TIGERS ARE THE KINGS OF THE BEASTS! NOT LIONS! I have to say, I was very disappointed, the only good thing was the music. Honestly, I wish those lions starved to death and I am glad that simbas father died. I hate Disney for making people hate hyenas. I LOVE THOSE GUYS! They are AMAZING! In fact, I like them better than humans! I just can’t wait to be king. To bad you will have to wait forever. By the way, wildebeest can not trample and ADULT MALE LION! Way to go on the details there. Disney has to make a movie about hyenas being good because honestly, hyenas are not more evil than humans. AND THAT IS A FACT!

11 out of 76 found this helpful. Was this review helpful