There are few who don’t remember the first time they saw the death of Mufasa, the villainy of Scar or that final scene that put so much more context into the “circle of life” concept than any other movie, and as The Lion King hit its 27th anniversary, fans celebrated what they consider the GOAT of animated feature films. With a stellar voice cast, instantly classic songs and some of the most technically advanced and stunning animation put out by Disney, or anyone else, at that time, The Lion King may not have seemed like a sure-fire hit before its release, but that soon changed and the rest was history.
The history of The Lion King goes back six years prior to its arrival in cinemas, to a meeting between Jeffrey Katzenberg, Roy Disney and Peter Schneider while they were on the promotion tour of Europe for Oliver and Co. Production on the movie began in 1991, running simultaneously with that of Pocahontas, and would include some of the most advanced computer animation available at the time to create breath-taking scenes like the wildebeest stampede.
By the time the Disney movie released in 1994, the critics were full of praise for everything from the setting, to the music, the story and of course the world class voice cast and animation. The movie took $763 million at the worldwide box office, becoming the highest grossing movie of the year and the highest grossing animated movie in history, and it still holds the title of the highest grossing traditionally animated movie ever.
The Lion King boasted voice performances from James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Matthew Broderick, Rowan Atkinson, Nathan Lane, Moira Kelly, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin and Jim Cummings. Songs for the movie were written by Sir Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, with centrepiece Can You Feel The Love Tonight being a huge chart hit for John. The legacy of The Lion King saw a wave of sequels, a TV series and of course the inevitable live-action remake in 2019. While the remake was not received as well as the original, it still took over $1.6 billion at the box office.
Today fans joined in the multiple tweets celebrating the movie, proving that even now, with many new animation techniques in play and many more elaborate ways of putting anything on screen, the movie is still a popular and well-loved as ever. Here are just a selection of the memories and thoughts shared by users on Twitter.
While time can be unkind to some movies, The Lion King is one that seems set to stand the test of time. There are very few movies that can be deemed perfect, but it stands as one of them, and certainly one of the best Disney ever produced. As remakes and reboots come and go, it always seems to be the original version of The Lion King that is destined to be passed down from one generation to the next, as the circle of life rolls ever on. Long live the king.