10 Movies To Watch If You Love Playing Elden Ring

For those untarnished by Fromsoft designer Hidetaka Miyazaki's newest creation, "Elden Ring" is an action role-playing adventure and the spiritual successor to "Dark Souls," "Bloodborne," and Miyazaki's other infamously difficult and bewitchingly obtuse video games. In a departure from his past titles, "Elden Ring" focuses on exploring an open world called the Lands Between and the challenging combat against the wretched horrors that lurk in every corner of the map. Your character, "the Tarnished," has been summoned to the Lands Between to collect all of the Great Runes, restore the Elden Ring, and become the Elden Lord. If that sounds easy, well, there are well over 100 unique bosses and legion upon legion of monsters that would beg to differ.

"Elden Ring" is not the kind of game that holds your hand in any way. As the adage for these types of games goes, "death is a mechanic," and you will learn how this world works by trying and dying over and over and over again. The going won't be easy, but there is an overwhelming sense of satisfaction when everything finally clicks and you start defeating bosses by the skin of your teeth (yes, in "Elden Ring," your teeth probably do have skin — it's just that kind of twisted game).

But maybe you've already hacked and slashed your way through enemy after enemy and claimed your place as Elden Lord. Perhaps you're still grinding across the Lands Between, searching for those fabled Runes. Either way, if you have become entranced by the breathtaking beauty and gruesome horror of "Elden Ring," the following 10 movies capture much of its spirit.

Pan's Labyrinth

Between the visuals and the central theme, which involves achieving a questionably happy ending at a deadly cost, Guillermo del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth" is full of that "Elden Ring" energy. The movie is a fairy tale set against the backdrop of 1940s Spain. Its main character, Ofelia, is a young girl troubled by her mother's fading health and her new stepfather's violent nature, and who finds an escape into a mystical world full of strange creatures.

At times, "Pan's Labyrinth" is wondrous, giving us glimpses of a faye world that has become tarnished over time. But the mood quickly shifts to ominous and then outright terrifying after you meet some of the creatures that Ofelia faces, including her stepfather. The Pale Man is a monster that will make you reconsider your next buffet. It appears as an emaciated humanoid who sleeps at the head of a table laden with delicious-looking food. However, when Ofelia makes the mistake of eating a grape, the Pale Man awakens, revealing that, while his eyeless face is seemingly blind, the eyes in the palms of his hands can see her quite clearly. The ravenous man-shaped thing chases young Ofelia, intent on making her his next meal.

"Pan's Labyrinth" has an old-world spirit that feels like those darker, original fairy tales, where people turned into sea foam when their love was unrequited or maimed themselves to fit into shoes. Ofelia's ultimate choice also recalls how many characters' stories end in "Elden Ring."

The Dark Crystal

Jim Henson's "The Dark Crystal" is a 1982 fantasy film that deviates from the classic family-fodder that Henson is known for with dark themes and some horrifying creatures. 

"The Dark Crystal" tells the story of how two elf-like creatures, called Gelflings, try to save the world from the tyranny of the Skeksis and restore the titular dark crystal to its former glory. Similar to how the great lords of "Elden Ring" were corrupted and became twisted versions of themselves, the Skeksis were originally creatures called urSkeks, but their greed for power and everlasting life drove them to break the crystal and split themselves into two separate species, the urRu and the Skeksis. Say the word "Skeksis" to anyone who grew up in the '80s and you're almost guaranteed to see them shudder at the memory of the gnarled and sickly visages of those bird-like overlords. 

Henson's use of puppets gives the film a realistic feel that the animation of the time could not replicate. The Skeksis are so detailed and have such gravitas that, to this day, they remain nightmare fuel equal to that of any Elden Lord.


At some point in "Elden Ring," you may come across Dominula, the Windmill Village. At first, it seems like a quaint little place where young women dance and frolic in reverie for a festival. Flowers dot the hillside and laughter fills the air, yet something feels off. Most of the young women ignore you, but eventually one looks up, her eyes glowing red. Suddenly, you're being mobbed by bloodthirsty maidens armed with staves and sickles. 

The whole village scene is very reminiscent of "Midsommar," a folk horror film from A24. "Midsommar" follows the story of psychology student Dani Ardor, who joins her boyfriend and his friends (to his annoyance) on a trip to a commune in rural Sweden to observe a midsummer festival that occurs once every 90 years. The group is welcomed by the community and invited to participate in some of the ceremonies. However, they all become more and more disturbed by the festivities, which include ritual suicide, intense and bizarre sex, taking hallucinogens, and more. 

Thematically, the story revolves around Dani's dysfunctional relationship with her boyfriend; by the end of the film, you may agree that he deserves his ultimate fate. Still, the movie does an amazing job of depicting horrifying events that unfold against a picturesque backdrop, which perfectly describes just about everyone's time with "Elden Ring."

The Ritual

As we saw in "Midsommar," group trips to Sweden seem to be cursed. "The Ritual" offers more evidence for that theory. While it begins with a similar premise, "The Ritual" is a darker experience that shows how one man comes to terms with his part in his friend's death.

In the film, five men decide to go backpacking through the Swedish countryside to honor their friend Rob, who was killed during a robbery. During their trip, they travel through a forest, where they find disturbing signs that something ominous is happening. Tensions are exacerbated by the creepy setting, and the group begins to turn on itself. Conflicted and lost in the woods, the men trudge on, searching for civilization while something seems to be hunting them. As you might expect, things only get worse as the group finally finds its way to a small town, where the inhabitants are much more than they initially seem.

From the hanging bodies of sacrifices to the grotesquemonster itself, the film visually echoes "Elden Ring" at many points. The creature is a terrifying figure that looks something like a gigantic moose with two human bodies melted together for a head. You can see it slipping quietly through the trees in the background of some shots, and you'll eventually get a good look at it towards the end of the film. The helplessness of most of the characters and their inability to defy either the monsters or its worshippers makes us yearn for the endless deaths we endured on the Tarnished's journey.

The Head Hunter

"The Head Hunter" is as close as you can get to a movie set in the Lands Between. The film tells the story of a father who spends his days as a bounty hunter, slaying monsters and hanging their heads on his wall as he tries to track down the creature that murdered his daughter. Whenever he's hurt, he uses a healing potion to instantly fix the worst of his wounds. The crafting of the potion feels visceral, and totally in-character for the Lands Between.

Eventually, the man discovers that a bounty has been placed on the monster he's after, and so he travels to the island where it's living. As with all of his fights, he kills the creature offscreen and returns home with his prize. Unfortunately, the father isn't very careful about where he stores his potions; when a jar of the substance spills onto the monster's head, the creature comes back to life. You'll have to watch the film to see how twisted the story really gets, but seeing as this is a list about "Elden Ring," you know the father is in for some troubled times.

So much of this film feels like what might happen if your "Elden Ring" character had a shack to go home to at night. The majority of the film details a heartbreaking cycle of killing monsters, returning home to heal, and then being summoned forth once more to take up the sword; the repetition highlights the father's bleak existence. Some moments with the reanimated head feel like they're borrowed from "The Evil Dead" and come off as humorous, but overall "The Head Hunter" is a fun fantasy-horror story.


Perhaps the least well-known film on this list, "Krull" is a fantastic science fiction-fantasy film from 1983. Set on the planet Krull, the story follows Prince Colwyn and his compatriots as they try to rescue Princess Lyssa, who was kidnapped by an alien creature called the Beast. Armed with a monster-slaying throwing star called the Glaive, Colwyn searches for the teleporting spaceship-slash-fortress where the boss monster lies in wait. 

The film features some fun characters, including a mage who isn't particularly good at his job, a group of bandits that includes a very young Liam Neeson), and a badass cyclops named Rell, but my favorite is the Widow of the Web. A seer woman trapped in the middle of a giant web that is patrolled by a vicious crystalline spider, the Widow is the key to finding the fortress. However, like so many "Elden Ring" characters, she has a tragic ending that will make your flesh crawl if you think about it too much.

With high-flying fire horses, plenty of swashbuckling action, and an end boss bigger than most buildings, "Krull" is an exciting adventure film with many obvious parallels to "Elden Ring," and one that holds up surprisingly well after so many years.

The NeverEnding Story

While it's geared towards a younger audience, the tragic world of "The NeverEnding Story" feels like a softer version of the Lands Between. Stay with us here. Sure, Fantasia doesn't have towering nightmares like Margit, the Fell Omen or giant man-eating dog-rat cross breeds that chase heroes across the countryside, but it is a land that's falling into decay as the power that once filled it with life is being eaten away.

In the film, Fantasia is contained in a book stolen from a shop by the main character, a young boy named Bastian. As he reads, Bastian learns about how the Empress is sick, and how a malevolent force called the Nothing is slowly destroying everything. The hero of the story, Atreyu, embarks on a quest to find a cure so that the Empress can stop the Nothing and save the world. Along the way, Atreyu faces off against a demonic wolf, flies on the back of a dragon, and meets a variety of curious creatures, including a turtle pope prototype named Morla the Ancient One, who happens to be the wisest being in all of Fantasia.

If you are looking for something that's like "Elden Ring" but a little lighter, "The NeverEnding Story" is not only a beloved film, but it'll also make you wish you had a luck dragon to ride across the Lands Between. Sorry, Torrent.

Conan the Barbarian

If you enjoy swinging a giant greatsword as you barrel through the Man-Serpents that surround Volcano Manor, then perhaps you'll like watching young Arnold Schwarzenegger fight dastardly snake cultists in "Conan the Barbarian." 

This sword and sorcery film covers Conan's origin story, in which a raiding party led by Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones) kills Conan's parents and enslaves the Cimmerian when he's still just a boy. Pressed into back-breaking labor, Conan eventually grows up into the beefcake he was always destined to be. Impressed by his physique, a man buys Conan and trains him as a gladiator. The warmasters of Khitai also teach him the art of killing, and educate him in their philosophy and literature. In a surprising act of charity, Conan's owner then sets him free, and the barbarian ventures out into the world to find the vengeance he so desires. 

During his adventure, Conan gains insights from a witch, befriends some less-than-savory characters, and promises a king that he'll rescue his daughter from the Doom's snake cult. There are plenty of funny moments, such as the moment when Conan fights off a hungry vulture with nothing but his teeth, or the way that Thulsa Doom uses snakes as arrows, and yet the movie still feels epic, covering a lot of story in a short time.

The Princess Bride

If you need a break after "Elden Ring" has had its way with you, then maybe the nostalgic warmth of the classic fantasy story "The Princes Bride" will ease your frayed nerves. 

Presented as a story that's being read by a grandfather to his sick grandson, "The Princes Bride" tells the tale of a former farmhand named Westley who is trying to save the woman he loves, Buttercup, from being forced to marry Prince Humperdinck. If the names haven't already clued you in, the movie is full of odd and hilarious characters, including the giant Fezzik, played by wrestling legend Andre the Giant. Occasionally, the grandson interrupts the story to comment on the romance scenes with disgust, or to ask his grandfather where all the promised sports action is. 

In spite of the fact that all of the characters spout line after line of hilarious, endlessly quotable dialog, the movie has a genuine quality that makes it as heartwarming as it is comedic. You'll also get a ton of swashbuckling action, a satisfying revenge plot, and a few rodents of unusual size to fill the requisite monster quota.

Jackass Forever

Within the first few minutes, "Elden Ring" will show you a whole new world of pain. You'll be squashed flat by giants. You'll be mauled by bats. You'll be set aflame by torch-bearing soldiers — and let's not even talk about the Tree Sentinel... 

As if that's not enough, you'll also suffer your share of embarrassing deaths as you roll backwards off of cliffs, succumb to the poison that you forgot to heal (usually near the end of a brutally tough boss fight), and cause your own demise in any number of other humiliating, infuriating ways. 

Some of these deaths are so hilarious and unforeseen that, as Gita Jackson at VICE observes, it feels a whole lot like watching "Jackass Forever." It's not hard to imagine Johnny Knoxville sitting atop a cliff laughing as he pulls a lever that drops three wolves out of the sky on top of an unsuspecting Tarnished. Wait, maybe that's how those got there...