The Lion King script
The Lion King (1994)
Synopsis: This Disney animated feature follows the adventures of the young lion Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas), the heir of his father, Mufasa (James Earl Jones). Simba's wicked uncle, Scar (Jeremy Irons), plots to usurp Mufasa's throne by luring father and son into a stampede of wildebeests. But Simba escapes, and only Mufasa is killed. Simba returns as an adult (Matthew Broderick) to take back his homeland from Scar with the help of his friends Timon (Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella).

{Open, black screen}

{Start nature sound effects}

{Cue Castle screen}

{Fade to black}

{Cue lion roar in the background, calling the animals to gather

to Pride Rock for the Ceremony.}

[THE CIRCLE OF LIFE]

[ MS:
Male Singer

BS:
Background Singer

FS:
Female Singer (lead) ]

{Sunrise on African grassland (lightly treed), in time with

opening chant to The Circle of Life}

MS:
Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba [Here comes a lion, Father]

BS:
Sithi uhm ingonyama [Oh yes, it's a lion]

{Various shots of animals raising their heads at the sunrise:

rhinos, antelope, a cheetah, meerkats, storks...}

MS:
Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba [Here comes a lion, Father]

BS:
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama [Oh yes, it's a lion]

Ingonyama

MS:
Siyo Nqoba [We're going to conquer]

BS:
Ingonyama

Ingonyama nengw' enamabala [A lion and a leopard come to this open place]

{repeats 5}

Ingonyama nengw' enamabala (Se-to-kwa!)

Ingonyama nengw' enamabala (Asana)

{repeats 1}

{The Circle of Life ground forms in the BS's and holds its

pattern for eight bars. It is a non-chordal BS part. The

progressions are in the medium ranges of the strings.

Various pans and camera views of African animals, all

moving. Coinciding with the FS pickup in the eighth bar,

we first view the giraffes, panning to a long shot of all

the animals in their procession}

[The Circle of life text]

FS:
From the day we arrive on the planet

And, blinking, step into the sun

There's more to see than can ever be seen

More to do than can ever be done

{Camera is panning and jumping to elephants, zebras, ants,

birds, storks, etc... }

There's far too much to take in here

More to find than can ever be found

But the sun rolling high

Through the sapphire sky

Keeps great and small on the endless round

{When the "The Circle of Life" is mentioned the long-

distance pan centers on Pride Rock where all the animals

are gathering. Mufasa is on Pride Rock. Long camera arc to

Mufasa and Zazu.}

It's the Circle of Life

And it moves us all

{Zazu bows to Mufasa, who smiles and nods at him}

Through despair and hope

Through faith and love

{Appearance of Rafiki, the mandrill. He passes between

ranks of animals, who bow to him; he then climbs Pride Rock

to where Mufasa is standing.}

Till we find our place

On the path unwinding

{Rafiki and Mufasa embrace.}

In the Circle

The Circle of Life

{Decrescendo in BS. FS drops out. Pan Flute takes simple

lead.}

{Mufasa leads Rafiki over to Sarabi, who is holding Simba}

{Rafiki puts the juice and sand he collects on Simba's

brow-- a ceremonial crown. He then picks Simba up and

ascends to the point of Pride Rock. Mufasa and Sarabi

follow. With a crescendo in the music and a restatement of

the refrain, Rafiki holds Simba up for the crowd to view.}

FS:
It's The Circle of Life

{The crowd starts howling, stamping, etc... }

And it moves us all

Through despair and hope

Through faith and love

{The clouds part and a sunbeam highlights Rafiki and Simba

on Pride Rock.}

Till we find our place

{The crowd bows down, one by one.}

On the path unwinding

{Camera slowly zooms out to a striking panoramic view

of the Presentation.}

In the Circle

The Circle of Life

{Bass drum hit (fff) and immediate switch to black screen

with title "The Lion King" in blood-red caps.}

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Irene Mecchi

Irene Mecchi is an American writer for television, movies, newspapers, and Broadway. Originally from San Francisco, she started her work with Disney in March 1992, when she wrote Recycle Rex, an animated short film which won the 1994 Environmental Media Award. Irene has worked on Herb Caen's books, and is the co-screenwriter of Disney animated movies such as The Lion King, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Hercules. With co-author Roger Allers, she received a 1998 Tony nomination for writing the book for The Lion King. Irene wrote the teleplay for Annie, which aired on ABC in 1999. more…

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