In the year of its release, the film was the greatest box office hit on record. Few others have surpassed it. Also a critical success and popular enough to receive a sequel, a prequel and a spin-off television series.
There is controversy over the precise origins of the story. Disney officially credited the Biblical tales of Joseph and Moses, as well as "Hamlet" by William Shakespeare for inspiring several elements of the story. Uncredited were several stylistic and plot elements from "Kimba the White Lion" (1965 - 1966), a well-known Japanese animated series. This spawned several accusations of plagiarism.