Lion King was originally released in 1994, and I went to see it by myself that summer before heading to work on a weekend radio shift, just before my senior year of college. The story is pretty much a classic, but what really grabbed me about it was the two issues it dealt with.
First off was death. I'll never forget being in the theater right after the stampede scene when Simba silently pushes himself under the paw of his dead father. A little kid behind me says, "What's wrong with him mommy?" I very nearly cried at that moment from a combination of the movie and the innocence of the kid behind me.
The other thing that got me about the movie was the very common sense exchange between Simba and Rafiki (the monkey) about how bad stuff happens, and you just need to let it go and master your own destiny. That was particularly relevant for me at the time for a number of reasons. I spent a good couple of years with my head up my ass regarding girls at the time, and I just left a paid position at my college radio station in part because the advisor was a jackass, and partly because I got a real gig at a commercial station. So in some ways, this movie got me to thinking that the future could be what I made it, if I let go of the past.
(Indeed that's what happened. I met Stephanie a few weeks later, and years after that I'd marry her.)
The other thing that really drew me in that winter, after the movie had left theaters, was the second soundtrack that they released, "Rhythm of the Pridelands." The entire thing was based on the African themes of the movie, and you've heard the guy in countless TV commercials since then. It was really the standout music, and it got me into more of the tribal/world-beat stuff.
I suppose in the grand scope of things, the movie isn't that important, but it's certainly from a very pivotal point in my life, where I finally started to realize who I was, if not what I planned to do with my life. The movie reminds me of a certain idealism I had at the time, and a strong sense of self. Those are good feelings, so in a strange, ironic way, it's this very past that again inspires me to take command of my future.