It’s fitting that June 15th marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Disney’s The Lion King. It also happens to be Father’s Day. The Lion King displayed one of the loveliest father-son relationships on screen. We all know the story of The Lion King, but what was it about the film that made it so brilliant?
What made one of Disney’s greatest films, so great? To begin with, the film had a spectacular open. If there’s a great opening, it’s pretty much a given that the film will have the audience’s attention. The Circle of Life, as a song, would end up being nominated for an Academy Award, and was also performed as a single/pop version by the song’s composer, Elton John. Can You Feel the Love Tonight? and Hakuna Matata were also nominated for Best Original Song Oscars, with Can You Feel the Love Tonight? winning. The film also won an Oscar for Best Original Score.
The vocal talents behind the characters were quite varied, but strong and this provided a lot of oomph for the film. Voices varied from a Shakespearian actor, to a future teen sensation, and from a Star Wars villain to several Broadway veteran. James Earl Jones was behind Mufasa, with Jonathan Taylor Thomas as young Simba. Matthew Broderick voiced older Simba. Nathan Lane was behind Timon and Ernie Sabella provided the vocal talents for Timon’s best friend, Pumbaa. Jeremy Irons made a devilishly good Scar.
The Lion King is now the third highest grossing animated film of all time, after Frozen and Toy Story 3. The film has become so successful, that it spawned several sequels, several television shows, Disney theme park attractions, but most importantly, one of Broadway’s most popular shows in history. It also happens to be Broadway’s highest earning show of all time. The show won numerous awards and achieved history when Julie Taymor became the first woman ever to win the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical. The show has toured in over a dozen countries, has played in over 63 cities and has been seen by more than 45 million people around the world.
But it all start with a father protecting, shaping and guiding his son with love, courage and strength.