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Watch these 5 movies if you liked The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

The Legend of Zelda franchise has left fans wanting to see Link and the titular princess go on an adventure on the big screen. This desire has only been intensified by the popular release of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and debunked rumors that Illumination Entertainment was making an animated adaptation.

It may be a long time before Nintendo makes a Zelda film, but for those who enjoyed their latest gaming masterpiece, these five movies should give audiences a similar cinematic experience.

Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Tears of the Kingdom shares many similarities with Laputa: Castle of the Sky, so much so that it seems Studio Ghibli’s first anime classic heavily inspired the game’s developers. Like the film’s female protagonist, Sheeta, Zelda wears a magic necklace that enhances her power and is revealed to be a royal descendant of a people originally from the heavens.

There is also the presence of the floating Sky Islands, airships, and the ancient robot Constructs that guard the Zonai ruins, which make for the kind of steampunk fantasy adventure Laputa popularized back in the ’80s.

Princess Mononoke (1999)

San riding her wolf in Princess Mononoke.
Toho

Princess Mononoke is another anime classic with many signs pointing to Zelda’s developers being huge Studio Ghibli fans. Link’s arm gets infected by Ganondorf’s “gloom” just as a powerful demon curses Ashitaka’s arm. There are epic sword fights and mystical creatures galore in both stories.

And like Tears of the Kingdom and its acclaimed predecessor, Princess Mononoke emphasizes the beauty of nature, with their respective heroes protecting the environment against a corruptive, supernatural threat unleashed in an age of technological advancement.

Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Centered around the warrior princess Raya, this film follows her in her quest to find the last surviving dragon to restore a magic gem that will revive her father and banish the evil spirits from her land.

Led by Kelly Marie Tran and Akwafina, Raya and the Last Dragon features a beautiful and detailed world inspired by ancient Asian culture reminiscent of Hyrule, filled with action, magic, monsters, and of course, dragons.

Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)

Milo and Kida in "Atlantis: The Lost Empire."
Disney

As the name implies, this underrated Disney film follows a linguist who takes part in an expedition to the sunken city of Atlantis. Similar to Tears of the Kingdom, this movie features a wondrous and thrilling adventure that explores an ancient-but-highly advanced civilization almost lost in time.

There are also many quirky and lovable characters that would probably fit right in with the people of Hyrule. Oh, and there’s a giant mechanical lobster that shoots laser beams: a beast that anyone can see Link fighting in one of his adventures.

The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Yoda stares
Lucasfilm / Lucasfilm

Just as Darth Vader separates Luke and Leia following their first victory over him, the evil Ganondorf drives Link and Zelda apart in the beginning, forcing the two heroes to go off on their own journeys. Likewise, both sequels feature an exceptionally dark tone as their villains lay waste to their enemies and their lands in their pursuit of absolute power.

Luke also has a comparable journey to Link, as they both seek guidance from ghosts, meet a big-eared mentor, gain telekinetic powers, wield a glowing sword, and lose an arm facing the main villain. If the game had someone say, “May the Triforce be with you,” then that would’ve crossed the line.

Anthony Orlando
Anthony Orlando is a writer/director from Oradell, NJ. He spent four years at Lafayette College, graduating CUM LAUDE with a…
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