"Do you see any other big, lovable chunk of warthog here?"
This article is about the 1994 song.
You may be looking for the 2019 song, the stage musical song, the Elton John song, the Circle of Stars song, the Festival of The Lion King song, the life concept, the book, or the short film.

Standing in the Spotlight.png
"Everywhere you look, I'm standing in the spotlight!"
Circle of Life is a featured article, which means it has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the The Lion King Wiki community.

Circle of Life
Attribution information

Elton John
Hans Zimmer


Tim Rice


Jay Rifkin


Carmen Twillie
Lebo M

Release information

May 31, 1994






Best of The Lion King
Jungle Boogie
The Legacy Collection: The Lion King
The Lion King (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
The Lion King: Disney Karaoke Series
The Lion King: Special Edition


The Lion King


Anonymous Audio File Icon Clip Art.pngThe Lion King 
Anonymous Audio File Icon Clip Art.pngThe Legacy Collection: The Lion King (instrumental demo) 
Anonymous Audio File Icon Clip Art.pngThe Lion King (Genesis) 
Anonymous Audio File Icon Clip Art.pngThe Lion King (SNES) 

"Circle of Life" is a song composed by Elton John for The Lion King. It was released on May 31, 1994, as part of the film's soundtrack. It is the opening song of the film. It plays during the prologue as animals gather around Pride Rock to see the presentation of Simba, the son of Mufasa and Sarabi, who is to succeed his father as the king of the Pride Lands. A reprise of the song is heard at the end of the film as animals gather around Pride Rock once more to see the presentation of Simba and Nala's newborn cub.


Lebo M:
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba Here comes a lion, Father
Sithi uhm ingonyama Oh, yes, it's a lion
Ingonyama A lion

Nants ingonyama bagithi baba
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama

Siyo nqoba We're going to conquer

Ingonyama nengw' enamabala The royal lion wears his leopard spots

Carmen Twillie:
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
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

It's the circle of life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle
The circle of life

It's the circle of life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle
The circle of life


The Lion King

Rafiki holds Simba atop Pride Rock

The song takes place at the very beginning of the film. As the song progresses, various animal herds travel through the Pride Lands to gather at Pride Rock. There, Rafiki meets up with the current king of the Pride Lands, Mufasa, and his mate, Sarabi. After blessing Mufasa's newborn cub, Simba, Rafiki lifts the cub up high for all the animals to see, and the animals bow before their future king.

There is a reprise of the song at the end of the film, after Simba has taken the throne, in which Rafiki presents Simba and Nala's newborn cub to the animals of the Pride Lands.

The Lion King 1½

Timon and Pumbaa can be seen watching the musical number in a dark theater when Timon suddenly uses a remote control to skip to "Hakuna Matata". Pumbaa argues that the film shouldn't go out of order and attempts to rewind the film back to the beginning. Timon and Pumbaa start fighting over control of the film until they agree that the film should tell their side of the story. Throughout the rest of the film, it is occasionally interrupted to have Timon and Pumbaa comment on whatever is happening.

Other Appearances

The Stage Musical

In the film's musical adaption, the opening sequence is altered noticeably in certain ways; for example, the song is sung by Rafiki, who is accompanied by a chorus of multiple background singers garbed in unusual, distinctive costumes or manipulating animal puppets.

The opening song on Broadway

As the sun rises over the Pride Lands, Rafiki commences the start of the production by kicking off the song and summoning the various animals of the surrounding area for Simba's presentation. As the first two verses of the musical number end, a representation of Pride Rock appears onstage, carrying its two reigning rulers: King Mufasa and Queen Sarabi, who is cradling the small puppet that represents Simba. As the choir chants excitedly in the background, Rafiki joins the monarchs atop Pride Rock to bless the prince before raising him high into the air, singing joyfully alongside the bowing chorus.

At the end of Act II, Simba's friends and family acknowledge him as the rightful king of the Pride Lands. Rafiki crowns Simba with the mantle of kingship after his victory, and Simba ascends Pride Rock. He then gives a mighty roar across the whole kingdom, and the animals come back to the Pride Lands to recognize Simba as the rightful king. The lionesses appear to celebrate with the other animals as Rafiki holds up Simba and Nala's newborn cub. A blackout finishes Act II and leads to the curtain call at the end.

Disney Parks

"Circle of Life" is currently the main theme song for Disney's Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort. Disney's Epcot park formerly featured a cinema-type film called Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable.


  • Originally, the "Circle of Life" sequence had dialogue, but after hearing how powerful the music was, the filmmakers threw out the dialogue.[2]
  • The opening notes of "Circle of Life" can be heard in Chicken Little when Buck Cluck considers possible introductions to the film.[3]
  • Hans Zimmer improvised the massive drum beat that ends the song due to time constraints.[4]



Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.