Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

"Be Prepared" From ‘The Lion King’ Was Based On 1935 Nazi Propaganda Film

Curious similarities noted between it and “Triumph of the Will”

By: J.S. Côté

Published: July 2nd, 2014 in News » World

"Be Prepared" From 'The Lion King' Was Based On 1935 Nazi Propaganda Film

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of Disney’s The Lion King, one of the most successful animated movies ever made.

The film debuted in 1994 with rather adult themes of death, betrayal, and rebirth, marking it as of one Disney’s most mature offerings. One of the film’s darkest scenes involves the evil lion Scar singing about his plan to murder his brother and king of the pride, Mufasa, in the song “Be Prepared.”

As Business Insider notes, what most people don’t realize, however, is that the movie’s animators based much of this scene on a 1935 Nazi propaganda film titled Triumph of the Will that documents 1934 Nazi Germany.

According to a 1994 Entertainment Weekly article, the song “grew out of one sketch by story staffer Jorgen Klubien that pictures 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 march in formation through Nazi Germany.


During “Be Prepared”, Scar’s hyena army are grouped in a very similar formation, goose-stepping just as the Nazi soldiers do.


In this same instance, notice how Scar is elevated, standing on a cliff as he overlooks his hyena minions. It’s notable how similar Hitler is portrayed in much of Triumph of the Will.


Then we have the beams of light that rise around Scar as he sings in the cave, heavily reminiscent of the “Cathedral of Light” that were featured in many Nazi rallies throughout the 1930s.

Despite these similarities and the film’s adult themes, families still flocked to see The Lion King.

Hakuna matata, indeed.

Upon its 1994 release, the film was a box-office juggernaut grossing $987 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing animated film in history at the time. It has since been surpassed by Shrek 2.

Watch “Be Prepared” in its entirety below:

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