The Darkest Song From 'The Lion King' Was Based On A 1935 Nazi Propaganda Film


This year marks the 20th anniversary of one of the most successful animated films ever made, Disney's "The Lion King."


When the film first debuted in 1994, the film's themes of death, betrayal, and rebirth made it a pretty adult Disney movie.

One of the film's most adult scenes is when the evil lion Scar sings about his plan to murder his brother and king of the pride, Mufasa, in the song, "Be Prepared."

Yet, what most people don't realize is that the film's animators based much of the scene on a 1935 Nazi propaganda film titled "Triumph of the Will" that documents 1934 Nazi Germany.

According to an Entertainment Weekly article back in 1994, the song "grew out of one sketch by story staffer Jorgen Klubien that pictured Scar as Hitler. The directors ran with the concept and worked up a 'Triumph of the Will'-style mock-Nuremberg rally."


For example, the goose-stepping soldiers in "Triumph of the Will" march in formation through Nazi Germany.

During "Be Prepared," the hyenas that Scar wants to use in his plan to kill Mufasa are grouped in a similar formation, goose-stepping almost the same exact way.Scar is also elevated for the majority of the sequence, standing on a cliff over looking his army.

This is very similar to how Hitler is portrayed in much of "Triumph of the Will."

You may have also noticed the beams of light that shoot out around Scar while he's singing in the cave.

These lights resemble the "Cathedral of Light" that were featured in many Nazi rallies during the 1930s.


The adult themes of the film like those in "Be Prepared" didn't keep families away though.

When "The Lion King" was released in 1994 it was a box-office smash grossing $987 million worldwide. This made it the highest-grossing animated film in history at the time. It has since been surpassed by "Shrek 2."

Watch the entire "Be Prepared" sequence below: