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(1994), G [13-G*] (1hr 23min)

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
December 25, 2005
66 out of 100

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Christian Long Distance

(This section may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(1994), G [13-G*] -- a bad influence does not have to be real to influence badly.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Walt Disney Pictures
Distribution (US): Walt Disney Home Video
Director(s): Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
Producer(s): Alice Dewey, Don Hahn, Sarah McArthur, Thomas Schumacher
Written by: Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, Linda Woolverton with contributions by many
Music: Elton John, Lebo M., Hans Zimmer
Film Editing: Ivan Bilancio
Casting: Brian Chavanne
Production Design: Chris Sanders
Art Direction: Andy Gaskill
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

The Lion King seemed innocent enough, didn't it? But did we really notice all the issues of assault on morality and ethics the first time we watched it? I sure did not. It was not until I sat down with a pragmatic open mind did I even realize the scope of moral violations the 83-minute The Lion King fed our minds.

We hope to reveal the plethora of issues of assault on morality and ethics for you in this special request analysis of the 1994 animated feature by Disney. Please keep an open mind as you proceed through this analysis. Keep also in mind that while the CAP analysis model was built by observation of human behaviors in film, it is assumed that if animated deeds or attitudes demonstrated in animation that can reasonably be duplicated by a child or subjected to a child that the influence is equal.

Note first that The Lion King is quite probably the best example found of the CAP Rule of 1000 in its use of many examples of assault on morality and ethics of the "lesser" kind such as presented in G and PG films to achieve the same envelope of "effect" of films with fewer but more extreme examples and still receive the less severe MPAA rating such as PG-13 or R rated films. Even secular reviews I've read warned about the questionable fitness of this film for children.

Films in our comparative baseline database which were rated PG-13 earned scores from 67 to 55. PG-rated films in that baseline earned scores from 86 to 68. Consistently. The Lion King earned a final score of 66, placing it on the PG-13 side of the cell boundary between PG and PG-13. That makes the film a "lite 13-G." It certainly was not G-equivalent. Too much violence, too much impudence with a generous helping of issues of shaman witchcraft and consulting the dead [Deut. 18:10] not to mention several uses of Jesus' name in vain. [Deut. 5:11]

I suspect some who read this will mutter to themselves "Gimme a break!" But if you dust off your copy of the film and watch it again with the listing in the Findings/Scoring section in front of you, the depth of influence might become more clear for you.

Basking in idyllic life under rule of the noble King Mufasa (voice of James Earl Jones), the herds of Africa's Pride Rock region enjoyed a full and satisfying life. All but Mufasa's treacherous and regicidal brother Scar (Jeremy Irons) that is. Scar is bent on usurping Mufasa's cub son and heir to the throne, Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas, later Matthew Broderick) by killing Mufasa and assuming the role of king since Simba is still a cub.

After murdering Mufasa, Scar convinces Simba that his father's death is Simba's fault. [Rev. 21:8] Believing Scar, his own uncle, Simba exiles himself in hopes that running away would make more bearable the pain of causing his father's death. At least Scar says Simba is responsible. [Matt. 18:10] Scar uses the inherent trust of a family figure to manipulate Simba. Little did Scar know that Jesus warned of such maneuvers: that anyone who abuses His little ones would be better off with a millstone tied about his/her neck then cast into the sea. [Luke 17:2] Jesus is very serious about the little ones. And so am I. He even warns that whatever you do to His little ones you do to Him [Math 25:40]. And He "carries a bigger stick" than we and knows how and when to use it. On whom. And why.

While in exile, two of the local critters, warthog Pumbaa (voice of Ernie Sabella) and meerkat Timon (voice of Nathan Lane) befriend Simba even though warthog and meerkat are blue plate specials for lions. Pumbaa and Timon teach Simba to survive and thrive both physically and emotionally, physically by eating a wide variety of insects and emotionally by assuming a "who cares" attitude with "Hakuna Matata", the song of "problem-free philosophy."

After growing up, Simba's betrothed lioness Nala (Moira Kelly), while scouring the countryside for food, runs into the adult Simba. After failing to convince Simba to return to Pride Rock and assume his rightful role as king, Simba consults with the dead Mufasa who appears in the clouds. After accusing his father of breaking his promise to never leave Simba, the ghost of Mufasa convinces Simba to return to oust Scar and return the land to its once plentiful state.

And that Simba does. But you all probably know the story inside and out by now.

The undercurrent of this film that lies beneath a generous helping of humor and even noble lessons such as family solidarity and not running away form one's troubles is quite dark and sinister. Scar is the embodiment of evil cunning and selfishness and portrays it well. Truth and honor are not in him. Throughout the majority of the film Scar is at war with anyone whom he interfaces. His "Hitler-esque" style leads the hyenas, the mortal enemies of the lions, to serve him. A note to they who might want to say that showing such a negative entity is good for contrast learning, please note that too often the use of bad behavior to teach how not to act teaches how to not act.

Clearly the leading presence in this film is impudence and hate [Prov. 6:16-19] by Scar with a smidgen of adolescent arrogance toward and defiance of parental authority [Exod. 20:12]. While no uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary were noted, several uses of Jesus' name in vain were present. [Deut. 5:11]

Impudence content was followed closely in scoring loss by violence [Prov. 13:2] then by several matters of an unholy nature such as shaman witchcraft and communicating with the dead. [Deut. 18:10]

The only sexually immoral inference noted was the homosexually-oriented comment "You want me to dress in drag? And there was only one murder, the murder of Mufasa.

To help you keep an open mind about pointing out these issues in a fantasy film, please understand that a bad influence does not have to be real to influence badly. [1 Cor. 15:33]

My hopes are that you will consider strongly the listing in the Findings/Scoring section should you opt to let your young ones watch The Lion King again.

Sidebar Note: To address the many accusations we have received that the film presents many hints of the homosexual nature, only one was incorporated into the scoring distribution: the matter of Timon speaking to dressing in drag. But if attention to the posterior is an indication of an undercurrent of a homosexual nature, there were eleven instances noted of special attention given to the posterior of animals. These observations were not incorporated into the scoring since the matter is quite gossamer but had they been incorporated, the final score would have been reduced to 59 with a Sexual Immorality (S) investigation area score of 52.


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  • Deut. 18:10 - 12 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination [witchcraft], or an observer of times [soothsayer, sorceress, enchanter, conjurer], or an enchanter [diviner], or a witch [one who practices sorcery, magical arts], 11 Or a charmer [user of magic charms], or a consulter with familiar spirits [one who invokes the dead, necromancer], or a wizard [one who has a familiar spirit], or a necromancer [consulter of gods]. 12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or thoughtful discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name.]
  • Rev. 21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
  • Matt. 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. ["despise" is kataphroneo: to contemn, disdain, think little or nothing of (which includes abuse and neglect.]
  • Prov. 6:16-19 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes [arrogance, impudence, conceit - the KJV calls it a proud look], a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
  • Exod. 20:12 "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
  • Prov. 13:2 From the fruit of his lips a man enjoys good things, but the unfaithful have a craving for violence.
  • Matt. 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment [krisis: accusation, trial]: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca [senseless, empty headed: a term of reproach among Jews at the time of Christ], shall be in danger of the council [sunedrion: adjudication]: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool [moros: impious, godless], shall be in danger of hell fire.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences to younger and younger audiences every year when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it].
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. ["Offend": skandalizo - to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away. "Little ones": mikros - little;, small of age; younger which can include at-home teens].
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary/
    Commentary section.

    The Lion  King (1994) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • attempted eating of animal character
  • threat of violence, repeatedly
  • coercing to kill
  • planning murder
  • imagery of nazi-esque servitude
  • physical assault, repeatedly
  • order to kill
  • threat to kill
  • animal attack to kill, repeatedly
  • trickery to kill
  • fight to the death
  • animal killing

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • deceit with the young, betrayal, repeatedly
  • adolescent lie to mother
  • sneaking to defy parents
  • song of freedom from accountability
  • defiance of parental authority endangering one's own health and the health of another
  • lies, repeatedly, especially to deflect accountability and to falsely place guilt
  • violence during protective actions
  • "It's to die for"
  • coaching to run away
  • gross-out humor: eating insects
  • "You don't deserve to live"

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • Homosexual suggestion by "Want me to dress in drag?"

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • none noted

    Offense to God (O)
  • "circle of life" - we all will die once and live twice, but not in reincarnation or the ecological cycle
  • use of "gene pool" to suggest evolution
  • shamanism/witchcraft, repeatedly
  • astrology
  • "fool" [Matt. 5:22]
  • image of Zen meditation
  • consulting the dead
  • five uses of Jesus' name in vain

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • murder of character

  • Christian Educators Association International



    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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