The Chronicles of Narnia The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe 2005 Movie Aslan and Georgie Henley as the featured image for Movies about Lions list

The Mighty Kings: Movies about Lions

Join us on this exciting journey through all movies about lions ever released! From family and adventure movies to bloody horrors, they are all here! While watching movies about lions I realized just how our relationship has changed in the past few decades. For centuries and centuries, we hunted lions and brought them to the brink of extinction. There are lion sculptures that are at least 32.000 years old! Numerous paintings, flags and books also feature these mighty animals. Lions are often associated with nobility, strength and bravery. However, they were mercilessly hunted by ancient nobles with Pharaoh Amenhotep III killing over 100 lions in just one hunt!

This trend continued throughout human history until it finally started fading away in the seventies. Now the biggest threat to the lion population are poachers although 22 countries in Africa still allow some form of lion hunting. The Killing of Cecil the Lion in 2015 generated a lot of media attention and helped many organizations in their work on stopping these practices. Not to mention the official and illegal lion farms all over Africa.

As one of the most widely recognized animals with a huge cultural significance, lions are also apex predators and known man-eaters. Humans are not their preferred prey and it’s speculated that much like the crocodiles they hunt humans because we’re easy to catch and chew. Almost all the other animals are much tougher to eat and especially hunt, with sharp and dangerous horns and hoofs that can knock out teeth and eyes. The most famous examples are Tsavo Man-eaters and Mfuwe Giant Lion. In the rural areas of Tanzania lions attacked over 1000 people in a 17-year period. Many of them were eaten and many of the cases went unreported. If you want to know more about them I recommend this article.

In this overview of movies about lions, we will be going all of the movies ever released with a special focus on movies where lions are hunting humans. Continuing our treacherous journey through the lands of natural horror.

Honorable Mentions

Welcome to the messiest Honorable Mentions since we started this format of Rabbit Reviews lists. We have everything from cartoons over obscure Italian flicks to huge franchises. So, if you’re a fan of lion movies, check out these:

The Lion King [1994]

One of the most famous movies about lions and an animation masterpiece is a movie that you probably know by heart. If you haven’t seen it, now is the perfect time with the new and updated version released in 2019. Influenced by biblical stories and William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Lion King is one of those movies that everybody who grew up during the nineties holds close to the heart. Everybody but me. I haven’t had the chance to see the movie when it was originally released and when I finally watched it, it didn’t blow me away. I know, blasphemy, but sometimes things be like that. By the time I got to see it, the moment was gone and I was into different things, not mature enough to enjoy in an animated movie “for kids”. Although I did play the shit out of the video game.

The Wizard of Oz [1939]

Based L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s fantasy novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, this is widely considered as one of the greatest movies ever made. The story is excellent and it’s not just for children. Cowardly Lion feels like a failure because he’s supposed to be this king of animals but he rationally interacts with humans and doesn’t know what courage is. You can see the parallels to the predetermined roles we all have in our society and the weight those roles put on our shoulders. The relationship between doubt and bravery and what these traits actually mean is fun to think about. Not to mention the immortal lines like Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain and Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe [2005]

I remember watching this movie for the first time and being blown away by the quality of the special effects. Aslan the Lion looked so fucking real that I simply could not believe it. And to think that just a couple of years earlier we were still struggling with CGI. Rivaling Lord of the Rings, this is one of those timeless epics that if you haven’t seen you must check out. Based on the 1950 novel of the same name written by C. S. Lewis, it’s both visually stunning and compelling. A definition of escapism as we follow children who found a secret door in their closet that leads to Narnia, a magical world filled with strange creatures. It’s a bit more children-oriented but it’s still definitely worth a watch. There are two more sequels of pretty much the same quality so you can binge them just like any other great trilogy.

Beastmaster III: The Eye of Braxus [1996]

We’re making a sharp turn towards whatever the fuck this movie is but I think it’s worth it. This is the third and final sequel to the original Beastmaster, one of the cult classics of the eighties. In each movie, Dar, played by Marc Singer, has a huge exotic pet that works with him. After tigers and panthers, we’ve finally reached the top of the ladder with his buddy lion called Rhu. And this isn’t some CGI lion but the real deal. There are a few scenes that look painfully real as the lion casually “pets” a couple of frightened stuntmen. This is also the only out of all the movies with lions where we see humans and these fierce beasts fighting side by side. And I’m not counting Narnia as Aslan is not a standard-issue lion. If you’re a fan of sword and sorcery movies, you will love the first part but Through the Portal of Time and The Eye of Braxus are much weaker movies than the original.

Ursus in the Valley of the Lions [1961]

While we’re on a subject of strange movies, here’s a sixties oddity that didn’t even make it in the Sixties Movies about Lions section! After an evil emperor attacked his empire, King Annurius decides to hide his only son Ursus in a valley outside of the city. A pride of lions raises the baby as its own and this is the beginning of the story of Ursus’s adventures. This is the second movie in the Ursus trilogy and don’t worry, you didn’t miss anything. We are treated to glorious scenes featuring several lions just chilling with our homeboy Ursus. This being an Italian movie, you can see the connection to the legend of Romulus and Remus, twin brothers who found themselves in a similar situation. They were raised by wolves and later founded the city of Rome according to the legend. Ursus in the Valley of the Lions is a fun throwback to sixties strongman and beginnings of Italian exploitation movies. As such, it could be a fun viewing. Molto bene!

Androcles and the Lion [1952]

This is the last one, I promise! I simply had to include Androcles and the Lion because it’s based on a folktale that’s been around for centuries. Also known as The Shepherd and The Lion, it was a part of Aesop’s Fables. I don’t remember the specifics but I sure do remember a lion with a thorn in his paw. This movie is based on a 1912 George Bernard Shaw play of the same name. It follows Androcles, a timid Christian tailor who befriends a lion after helping him with a thorn. Next thing you know and poor Androcles is accused of sorcery and sent to to the Colosseum. A quite literal Christians to the Lions. This must be Nergal’s of Behemoth favorite movie. You can watch it both as a straight-up period movie or a movie so bad it’s good. Mostly because it’s so disjointed and all over the place with ridiculously strong religious motives.

The Lion Hunters [1951]

I know I promised, but how can I leave out Bomba, the Jungle Boy?! The Lion Hunters is fifth in the Bomba, the Jungle Boy franchise. Yes, there were franchises in the fifties! Based on a series of children’s books, this is a clear Tarzan copy with some Jungle Book influences. As you can guess from the title, we follow Bomba, a strapping young lad who grew up in the jungle. In this movie, he discovers a group of lion hunters and decides to foil their plans. I don’t know what could possibly make you watch this movie but since I’m trying to make a complete list of movies about lions, I had to include it. I guess it would be cool to watch all twelve movies about Bomba just for the fun of it. If we can watch Fast and Furious franchise then this is nothing. Plus, you can see how movies looked like in the early fifties, just six years after the end of WWII.

The Wild [2006]

Often overlooked, The Wild is an entertaining comedy with impressive CGI quality. The fur looks realistic as fuck, something they showcased throughout the movie (well, duh). Overshadowed by Madagascar, released one year earlier, it even features a similar story like the 2005 hit. But only similar, because it features a bit more serious atmosphere and characters. After his son Ryan accidentally gets shipped out of their zoo, lion Samson must find him with a little help from his friends from the zoo. Following animals that escaped from the zoo, you can’t help but wonder why are we still displaying these animals? Last time I was at the zoo I asked the same question and was met with strange looks. Now I simply avoid them as I become really depressed and angry after seeing all those imprisoned animals.

Madagascar [2005]

Would you believe it if I told you that Madagascar has just a couple of thousands of votes fewer on IMDb than The Wizard of Oz? With two direct sequels and a lot of spin-off series and video games, Madagascar is one of the best-known DreamWorks computer-animated movies. Cute and charming, it follows a bunch of animals who decide to escape from a zoo as they are longing for the life in the wild. Among them is Alex the Lion, celebrated as the king of New York who will have to battle with his predatory nature once they find themselves in the wild. Filled with memorable and likable supporting characters like Marty the zebra or the militaristic penguins, this movie has a lot to offer. The original trilogy is always a fun and entertaining ride down the memory lane, so if you’re looking for something to relax check it out.

Sixties Lion Movies

As the movie industry progressed we started getting more diverse movies featuring locations and scenes that were inconceivable just a couple of decades ago. Sixties movies about lions are actually the second wave of lion movies. Since most of the fifties movies are about hunting lions we will talk about them just before our main list. Here we will be focusing on more carefree and entertaining movies.

The Lion [1962]

One of the best things about this movie is the stunning footage of live animals. The Lion was filmed on location in Kenya and Uganda in glorious DeLuxe color and it still looks pretty good. It follows teenage girl Tina and her best friend who just happens to be a fully grown lion. As the adults are arguing and trying to figure out what to do about “grown-up things”, she’s just having fun. This is one of those adventure movies that sparked the safari explosion of the sixties and seventies. The cinematography is simply jaw-dropping, especially for that time. We have the opportunity to be transported into a different time, a time when the world still had some secrets. Granted, The Lion does get a bit melodramatic at times, but it quickly moves on and you’re never too far away from another shot of a beautiful African bush. The lion called King is played by Zamba, a ten-year-old lion who also starred in our next movie Fluffy.

Fluffy [1965]

I think I saw at least one of these movies about lions from the sixties when I was a kid. The scenes where characters play with this huge-ass lion like he’s a house cat blew my mind. It’s still so jarring to see them. I mean, a guy is making a phone call and petting this lion like he’s a dog. You can’t help but have this visceral feeling that something is seriously wrong. Run you fools! Prof. Daniel Potter wants to prove that lions can be trained to be house pets and that they are not dangerous at all. This, obviously, leads him into a series of funny situations and not so funny situations with the police. Fluffy is a great family movie that everyone can watch. Just remember to turn off your brain when you hit play because most of it just doesn’t make any sense. It can also be a great movie to get high and watch.

Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion [1965]

What can you say about a movie with a title that’s so self-explanatory? You already know this is going to be a light comedy that requires two functioning brain cells to be enjoyed. It’s similar to our previous entry on this list of movies about lions. And, yes, it’s much better to watch it while high. It’s more adventurous than Fluffy, more similar to one of the most famous African animal movies Hatari! starring John Wayne. Apart from lions, we’ll also have the opportunity to see a lot of interactions with other animals like snakes, monkeys and cheetahs.

After a lion appears near a small African village, authorities call Dr. Marsh Tracy, a local veterinarian to investigate. He finds the lion and discovers that he has a unique problem… I think you can guess what that problem is. Followed by a highly popular series Daktari, Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion is an entertaining movie about lions. Granted, images of Clarence with a metal chain do look a bit nasty, at least to me. This was somewhat balanced by the main characters trying to help animals and discourage poaching.

Napoleon and Samantha [1972]

I know that this movie was released in the seventies but it’s much closer to the sixties vibe than any other sections. It was Jodie Foster’s first feature film appearance starring alongside Michael Douglas. The lion was played by our old friend Zamba, now sixteen years old. We follow Napoleon and Samantha, two kids who decide to set off on an epic journey fearing that Napoleon is going to end up in an orphanage. They bring with them their pet rooster and a big-ass lion called Major who will help them on their dangerous adventure. I liked the more serious approach that surprised me coming from a Disney movie. Dealing with the death of a loved one and lack of any support is something that these movies for kids usually don’t discuss. With a heart-warming story and likable characters, Napoleon and Samantha is an enjoyable flick from a different time.

Born Free Epic

Any list of movies with lions would be incomplete without a story about the Born Free franchise. The release of Tiger King, a documentary following the crazy life of Joe Exotic, sparked the interest of the general public for big cats. The same thing happened in the sixties with the release of George and Joy Adamson’s book Born Free about their experiences raising a lion cub named Elsa. They were wildlife conservationists living in Kenya and working with big cats who needed the training to be reintroduced into the wild. The movie based on their experiences won two Oscars and numerous other awards. It was followed by a number of movies and a television show Born Free released in 1974.

Born Free [1966]

This is the movie that started it all. It’s based on a book of the same name published six years prior to this adaptation. Heart-warming and endearing, it’s similar to The Lion and Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion in a sense that it’s an adventure movie. We are following the strange life of George and Joy Adamson and their adventures in Kenya. George is a game warden and when a lion kills a villager he’s tasked with killing him. What he didn’t expect when he set out are three small cubs that were left behind. He decides to bring them home to his wife Joy and take care of the youngest cub called Elsa. Born Free features a more mature examination of the dilemma of what to do about lions as pets and their life in captivity. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of fun and entertaining moments too, it’s just that the movie was really well written. Which is no wonder, considering it’s based on true events. Filmed on location in Kenya and Ethiopia, Born Free is a perfect sixties eco-escapism.

Living Free [1972]

The sequel to the 1966 classic is also based on a book written by the Adamson couple, the third in the series titled Forever Free. After Elsa the lioness from the first part sadly dies, her three cubs must learn to fend for themselves with a little help from George and Joy. A much weaker movie than the original, Living Free also saw the departure of Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers. They were replaced by Nigel Davenport and Susan Hampshire, who weren’t bad at all. The cubs are just adorable and we will be treated to heaps of phenomenal animal footage. In some of the scenes, you will see them battle a giant snake and huge rhino. They are just mesmerizing and a testament to a different time in the film industry as I am sure these scenes could not be filmed today. And rightly so. I admire the bravery of everyone involved, I mean these are wild animals they are working with. They could snap at any moment and maul them without breaking a sweat. If you liked the first part, you feel right at home with this one.

Born Free: A New Adventure [1996]

24 years after the release of Living Free, it was time to make another movie based on the Born Free story. This is an obviously commercial and melodramatic attempt to milk some more bucks from a story that’s already been told. Told in a much better way if I might add. However, A New Adventure does have something new to offer. Shot in the nineties, it might be more appealing to younger generations. It also has a pretty interesting cast led by Chris Noth, better known as Mr. Big from Sex and the City television show. We have John Matshikiza whom I just loved in Yankee Zulu playing loveable George Luello and Jonathan Brandis, star of Seaquest DSV tv show. Brandis’s surly performance here was an ominous sign of things to come, as he took his own life six years later. He was 27 years old. Filmed on location in South Africa, it looks and feels authentic enough. This is the third and final part of the Born Free trilogy and it’s a shame it’s basically a made-for-tv affair.

To Walk with Lions [1999]

Based on the life of George Adamson and his wife Joy, To Walk with Lions is perhaps the strongest movie in the series. It gives the viewer a lot to think about as we follow George and all the obstacles he had to overcome in order to efficiently run his release program. We sometimes watch these movies with lions just for animal footage or a sense of adventure, forgetting the real troubles that plague our society. Corruption, greed and stupidity roam free in our tribal society and the efforts of individuals who are willing to fight for something are always inspirational. They can teach us an important lesson and change us as persons, just as Fitzjohn’s life was changed when he was hired by Adamson. Unlike others in the series, this is not a movie for kids, mostly because it has a different, gritty atmosphere. Still, it’s PG-13 rated, so it can be a sobering end to the Born Free epic after the original trilogy. It’s an immersive African experience that pulls you into this exotic and troubled world and offers a different perspective.

Voice-over Lion Movies

Behind this strange title are two similar but still very different movies. Read Rabbit Reviews for more profound and insightful reviews like this. Computer-generated imagery in 2004 reached the levels where you could make it seem like the lions are talking. The ability to understand how animals communicate is one of those things that humanity has dreamed about since the beginning. And while Pride chose the CGI path, White Lion was shot as a live-action story about a young lion with a narrator detailing his adventures.

Pride [2004]

If you thought that this is a small television movie, just check out this cast: Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren, Sean Bean, Martin Freeman and John motherfucking Hurt! It follows Suki (not that Sookie), a young lioness who refuses to kill her prey because she hates killing. She and her siblings are always getting into trouble as we follow them growing up in the harsh African wilderness. Funny, entertaining and with stunning footage of real lions roaming free, Pride is a must-see. They used a camera hidden in a boulder to follow real lions around as they were hunting their prey or frolicking in the savannah. Using CGI to enhance their facial expressions and make them seem like they’re talking gave Pride a special flavor. Something that’s not a movie and definitely not a documentary. Something that’s just magical and wonderful, especially if you’re a kid. Which doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it as an adult. The voice-acting alone makes it worth it.

White Lion [2010]

Very similar to Pride, White Lion is a much more low-key movie oriented towards younger audiences. This time we have narration instead of CGI as we follow the Letsatsi, a young white lion who’s cast away from the pride and must learn to survive alone. Unbeknownst to him, a group of hunters is looking for him because white lions are very rare and worth a lot of money. The group is infiltrated by Gisani, a young man determined to stop them and save Letsatsi… White Lion is a bit clumsy lion movie. It plays more like a documentary than a real movie and the lack of budget is sometimes painfully obvious. However, if you like movies about lions, you will appreciate the supernatural narrative intertwined with real-life footage. This is Kevin Richardson passion project and as such it deserves attention. Also known as The Lion Whisperer, he filmed it over a period of several years. Kevin also runs a pretty interesting YouTube Channel where he uploads clips of him interacting with lions and other animals.

Various Lion Movies

We are continuing our exploration of movies about lions with these entries. Some of them are family movies, some comedies and some of them are remakes. However, all of them feature lions and that’s what’s important. I am still trying to get over the fact that these movies are so diverse. We follow lion tamers, families living with lions and kids who befriend lions. So, let’s get to it!

Roar [1981]

One of the strangest movies on this list was in production for incredible 11 years. Often described as the most dangerous movie ever made and the most expensive home movie ever made, Roar is one hell of a movie. The story, characters and pretty much everything else is pretty shaky and inconsistent. However, it’s incredibly entertaining! It’s like watching a good version of Tiger King. We follow Hank, a naturalist living in Tanzania on a large estate where he studies big cat behavior. Truly stunning scenes of lions and tigers interacting with humans compensate for the lack of actual plot quite handsomely.

Over seventy people were injured on set, including the young star Melanie Griffith who almost lost an eye. Noel Marshall, who directed, produced and starred in this movie also suffered numerous injuries. Cinematographer Jan de Bont who would go on to direct Speed, Twister and The Haunting was fucking scalped when a lion bit his head. He received 120 stitches in order to pull back his scalp. One thing is certain, Roar could not be made today. As such, it’s a truly bizarre eighties oddity and one of the most engaging movies about lions. And it’s fucking hilarious! What more to want?

Roselyne and the Lions [1989]

Leave it to the French to make a movie about a sexy lion tamer couple. With a runtime of just under three hours, Roselyne and the Lions is a visually compelling movie with decent performances. We follow Thierry and Roselyne, a young couple determined to make it in the tough world of circus performers. They are trying to learn the trade, working odd jobs in circuses around France. In this search for glory, their relationship starts to deteriorate.

If you’ve ever been to a circus as a kid, you will remember the almost magical vibe this place has. As an adult, I have a very different opinion about them and I think they should be relegated to the past along with other forms of animal performances. However, as a kid, I was simply amazed by everything I saw there. Roselyne and the Lions captured that vibe and added to it a romantic story threatened by vanity. The grand finale is something that will blow you away with its style and even music. However, if you’re not in the mood for slow-burning and atmospheric movies, better skip this one.

Mia and the White Lion [2018]

It’s been a long time since we had a movie like this, at least fifty years. It’s a family movie set in Africa with spectacular cinematography and a heart-warming story. Some of these movies about lions are just so darn cute that you can’t help but fall in love with them. Mia and the White Lion is such a movie. Distinctly French and with an important message about the relationship between animals and humans, it’s a must-see. We follow Mia, a young girl whos parents suddenly decide to leave city life and move to Africa to manage a lion farm. It was so refreshing to see a movie with great production values set in Africa. Lion movies from the sixties do look a bit shabby, especially when you compare them to stylish and expansive movies like this. Technology has advanced so much since then.

The Lion King [2019]

Speaking of production values and the quality of special effects here’s a movie that I’m certain you’ve heard about. It’s a photorealistic CGI animated remake of the original movie released in 1994. Grossing over $1.6 billion worldwide, The Lion King is the highest-grossing animated movie of all time. There are no words that can describe the quality of visuals here. They have to be seen to be believed. Granted, this did take away some of the facial expressions and character emotions. In my personal opinion, the trade-off was well worth it. People also complained that the movie has no soul. Grown-up fans of the original faced with such a stark visual difference lost that connection they had with the original. Since I had none, I welcomed the visuals. In the end, I think that they should have changed the story a bit or simply continued following the events from the first part.

Fifties Tsavo Man-Eaters Movies

After the end of World War II, humanity tried to repair itself and seek out that sense of being alive. Africa, often seen as the last frontier soon started drawing a lot of attention. Unlike South America that was too dangerous and unexplored, Africa was relatively accessible and filled with amazing wildlife. It didn’t take too long before the film-makers decided to make movies based on true events that happened some fifty years earlier. Tsavo Man-Eaters were two lions who killed between 30 and 100 workers on the Kenya-Uganda Railway. Three movies with basically the same plot were released in a span of seven years. These are their stories. Dun Dun.

Bwana Devil [1952]

Believe it or not but this movie is the one that created the 3D craze in the fifties! It features not only 3D video material but it also features 3D sound! In the fucking fifties. Bwana Devil is also one of the first African adventure movies in color, a feature that makes it interesting even seventy years after it was released. It could be said that it started this whole trend of movies about lions. However, the story, characters and everything else are pretty shallow and dull. With melodramatic reactions and obvious plot developments, it can be viewed as a movie so bad it’s good. These movies are perfect for this because we have the nineties hit The Ghost and The Darkness to compare them to. Oddly enough, all four movies have different endings although they are based on true events.

Men Against the Sun [1953]

This is a low-budget attempt to milk some money from the story made famous by the Bwana Devil just a year earlier. More romantic than the rest of the movies based on the Tsavo Man-Eaters, Men Against the Sun is a tedious affair. The editing is pretty off and we are again treated to a lot of stock footage. Considering that the movie was filmed on location, it’s surprising that they couldn’t get at least a few animals to film. Our two villainous beasts make brief appearances lasting just enough to tick off a couple of boxes. Another thing that irritated me immensely was the fact that Kenya was still a British colony at the time they filmed this movie! And continued to be up until 1963 when, for a first time in its history, a black majority government was elected. Of course, they immediately declared independence. And they make out the lions to be the bad guys…

Killers of Kilimanjaro [1959]

Rivaling Bwana Devil in quality, Killers of Kilimanjaro is an old-school safari adventure movie. Starring Robert Taylor and filmed in glorious CinemaScope it features great cinematography and decent animal footage. There are elephants playing with railroad tracks, rhinos charging hunters, hippos in the water and other standard-issue safari scenes. Only inspired by our man-eating lions, Killers of Kilimanjaro offers some interesting and original developments. For example, Taylor refuses to use slaves but instead recruits prisoners to help him build the railroad. As you can guess, this will lead to some additional problems. Since this is a list of movies about lions and we’re still talking about our killer lion duo, I have to tell you that there’s not a lot of lion footage here. This is a more of King Solomon’s Mines copy than a movie about Tsavo Man-Eaters. I mean they spend more time chasing off elephants and fighting other tribes than hunting lions.

Movies about Lions

And after no less than 26 lion movies we have finally reached the main section of this list. These final five movies all feature a similar plot where lions attack humans.

5. Savage Harvest [1981]

Just like our next entry, Savage Harvest is a movie with a lot of wasted potential. It’s supposedly based on true events around the African drought that happened during the late seventies. 742 attacks happened during that time resulting in over 400 deaths. We follow a family living on a large estate in Africa during the time of this drought that drove lions and other wild animals to hunt whatever they can. They soon find themselves surrounded in their house by dozens of hungry lions. The way the story is unfolding and all the events that are happening are really good. You got your classic let’s board up and try to survive atmosphere reminiscent of so many zombie movies. Only we’re talking about lions here.

I have to say that Savage Harvest has some of the wildest lion footage out of all the movies about lions I have seen. They are just destroying this mansion and devouring people on camera. It all looks pretty gnarly and realistic. However, the imperialistic vibes were too strong with this one and I actually wanted the lions to eat these spoilt white folks with black servants. With a better script and editing, this could have been a cult classic. Especially with a strong cast led by Tom Skerritt and Shawn Stevens in his sexy shorty shorts. Can we bring them back please? I think it’s about time we reclaimed them as a piece of essential menswear.

4. Rogue [2020]

The latest subject of IMDb hate is this little thriller starring still dashing Megan Fox. It’s a standard-issue B movie following a group of mercenaries who must fight both a group of violent rebels and bloodthirsty lions. Filmed on location in South Africa, Rogue looks really stylish and sleek. Saturated colors and decent cinematography reminded me of Black Hawk Down. Of course, this is a much, much worse movie. It starts off great and with a lot of action but then it starts to meander and gets too melodramatic. Too bad, because it had a lot of potential. Even some of the jokes worked really well. However, the forced and stereotypical character development made Rogue just another forgettable thriller.

CGI lions looked pretty good and I really liked how they are introduced into the story. Right at the start of the movie we see a lion farm with a lot of these poor animals trapped in cages. Lion farms breed lions for hunting and they are a controversial subject both in Africa and elsewhere. If you want to know more I recommend this Nat Geo article: Inside a controversial South African lion farm. Megan was great and it was also fun to watch Philip Winchester (Peter Stone from Law and Order: SVU dun-dun) in a completely different role. Rogue is one of those movies where you just turn off your brain and enjoy the action. A couple of really good jokes might briefly bring you to the land of the living only to continue your rem phase moments later. Enjoy.

3. Prey [2007]

When I started researching movies about lions I thought that the plot we see here we would see in at least a dozen more movies. A family goes on a safari and then it is attacked by lions. It’s so simple, effective and realistic. There are so many movies about sharks featuring a similar theme, most recently in the 47 Meters Down franchise, that I’m still surprised that there’s only one movie about it. Starring a pretty well-known cast led by Peter Weller, Prey is a nice little generic thriller. There’s not much gore or setup but we’re almost immediately thrown into this dangerous situation.

With real lions jumping up and down, Prey had this authentic vibe that was soon destroyed by melodramatic plot twists and ridiculous dialogues. It can be watched as a movie so bad it’s good, especially if you pour a couple of beers in ya. Still, it was shot on location and it features real lions, so it’s not all bad. A true appetizer before you sink your fangs into something much more juicer. It feels like this is an episode of Human Prey, a terrifying and short-lived Animal Planet documentary television show.

2. Prooi [2016]

This is the most recent movie featuring lions and it looks fucking awesome. You can see just how CGI progressed and how it enabled the film-makers much more liberty when creating certain scenes. Directed by Dick Maas, known for his tongue-in-cheek humor and “bad movies”, Prooi, Prey or Uncaged as it’s commonly known is a fun movie. I just loved it! It strikes a perfect balance between thrills, gore and humor. And when I say gore I do mean gore, gore that you will rarely see in movies that are trying to be funny. Pure eighties fun. I mean there’s a scene where in any other movie, people would just get scratched or a bit roughed up. Here, they are fucking disemboweled! Stylish and with great both special and practical effects, this is no cheap and bad looking movie.

After a man reports that a lion attacked him to the police, Lizzy, a local veterinarian is called to the scene to confirm this. Unfortunately, it turns out that there’s a wild and giant lion loose in the city of Amsterdam! Authorities soon start hatching plans on how to get rid of it not knowing that this will prove much, much harder than they think. Unashamedly entertaining and over-the-top, Prey is a movie that they don’t make anymore. It’s one of the rare movies where there’s a wild animal loose in the city like in the eighties hit Alligator. Set in Amsterdam, a very popular tourist destination, it can also be fun for those who visited or plan to visit this awesome city.

1. The Ghost and the Darkness [1996]

Arguably the best movie about the Tsavo Man-Eaters is also, in my humble opinion, the best movie about lions. The movie about lions that attack and eat humans to be more precise. They really promoted the shit out of it in the nineties and I can remember the “buzz” around it quite clearly. Although most of it is a true account of the hunt for the infamous lions, some parts were added and expanded. One of the things that is true is how their lair looked like which really surprised me because it seemed so over-the-top. Fast-paced with a great atmosphere and lion footage, The Ghost and The Darkness is one hell of a movie. Too bad Michael Douglas, who was also the producer, decided to re-edit the movie to give himself more screen time. This explains a lot of the plot holes and sudden jumps in the storyline.

Despite all this, I still love it. It has a very intense and adventurous atmosphere, bordering on the supernatural but never crossing the line. And it stood the test of time as it looks pretty damn good even 25 years after its initial release. Being the latest adaptation of John Henry Patterson The Man-Eaters of Tsavo (1907) and hopefully not the last. This true story screams for another, modern adaptation with a more raw and truthful approach. It offers an opportunity to not only explore the relationship between humans and wild animals but also racism and colonialism. Exactly because of the latter, I think we will have to wait a long time to see a movie like this. Until then, we have our Ghost and Darkness.