Many notable documentaries, television shows, and animated films have been made about lions over the years because of their beautiful nature. In addition to the films and documentaries listed below, Asilia has been involved in the production of other well-known large cat documentaries and films. In order to find the best lion movies and documentaries of all time, we enlisted the help of our Asilia Facebook fans.
10. Madagascar – DreamWorks Animation (2005)
Let’s start with an all-time favorite of children and adults alike: The Wizard of Oz. In Madagascar, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock and Sacha Baron Cohen are joined by the likes of David Schwimmer and Cedric the Entertainer, as well as Andy Richter and Bob Saget. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, Penguins of Madagascar, and All Hail King Julien were all sequels and spin-offs of the original film.
9. The Ghost and the Darkness – Paramount (1996)
While building a railway in Kenya, two man-eaters attacked and killed several workers. The Ghost and the Darkness chronicles their story in detail. The year was 1898. “The Ghost” and “The Darkness” were nicknamed by the locals as “the Ghost” and “the Darkness” by Hollywood actors Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas, respectively.
8. African Cats – DisneyNature (2011)
An adventure documentary about two large cat families that live in Kenya’s famed national reserve, the Maasai Mara, is featured. Some regions on Earth are still home to large populations of lion, cheetah and leopard all battling for food. The Maasai Mara and its adjacent conservancies (such as the Naboisho Conservancy) are one of such places where this is still the case. Asilia, which has been operating in the region for decades, offered logistical support for the filming of the documentary. The documentary was narrated by Samuel L Jackson and Patrick Stewart (in the UK release), and the proceeds from the film helped to safeguard thousands of acres of land in Kenya.
7. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and Wardrobe – Disney (2005)
S. Lewis wrote the renowned Chronicles of Narnia trilogy in the 1950s and it has become a cultural touchstone ever since. For radio, theater, television and film adaptations. Narnia, the land of enchantment and talking animals, is the setting for this story. Aslan’s voice was provided by actor Liam Neeson, and the White Witch’s was provided by Tilda Swinton in the 2005 fantasy film Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe. Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010) and Prince Caspian (2008) were the next two films in the series to make over $1.5 billion worldwide.
6. Christian the Lion – Morningstar Productions (1972)
In 1971, a documentary film was made on this extraordinary factual story, which was covered in the newspapers of the 1970s. In 2002, a YouTube video resurrected the narrative and made it a viral sensation.
A friend of John Rendall and Ace Bourke bought Christian from Harrods in 1969, and he was raised in the basement of their London furniture company. George Adamson, a lion expert, carefully and successfully reintroduced Christian to the wild in Kenya in 1971, where he would become the leader of his own pride. The classic clip shows the reunification of Rendall and Bourke with Christian after a nine-month absence.
5. Relentless Enemies – National Geographic (2006)
Jeremy Irons is the narrator in this gripping video about a pride of lions stalking and attempting to kill a notoriously powerful buffalo in the Okavango delta of southern Africa.
4. Eternal Enemies: Lions and Hyenas – National Geographic (1992)
Unlike Relentless Enemies, Eternal Enemies: Lions and Hyenas by Dereck and Beverly Joubert is a documentary film. In Botswana, a pride of lions and a tribe of hyenas go toe-to-toe in a brutal battle for survival.
3. The Last Lions – National Geographic (2011)
Finally, we have The Last Lions, which was also made by South Africans Dereck and Beverly Joubert and narrated by Jeremy Irons, to complete a trio of films featured in our top 10. A lioness mother named Ma di Tau is the focus of the video, which follows her efforts to safeguard the survival of her children in the wild.
2. The Last Lioness – Aquavision (2009)
Lady Liuwa, a lioness who lives on Zambia’s Liuwa Plain, is the subject of this documentary. As a result of the illegal trophy hunting that decimated the rest of her species in the area, she has no one to turn to for aid.
1. Born Free – Columbia Pictures (1966)
A 1966 film called “Born Free” stars a young female lion named “Elsa,” who is a lion cub. The cub is being raised by Joy Adamson and her husband, a Kenyan game warden. “It is the only choice, single-handedly inspired the modern safari in the late 1960’s, possibly the single most successful piece of conservation marketing ever,” one of our fans told us. Your life is incomplete if you haven’t seen it at least three times.
BONUS MOVIE: The Lion King – Disney (1994 and 2019)
So many of today’s adults have a fondness for the Lion King, which is packed with memorable characters, moments, and songs. As of 2019, Disney has reinvented The Lion King, making it an all-time favorite for today’s kids, but this time employing the most advanced computer-generated animation techniques. Roelof Schutte, the professional guide and manager of Naboisho Safari Camp in Kenya, was hired by Disney to accompany the production of The Lion King for two weeks in 2017. Check out The Lion King’s growth in the video below!