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10 Classic Movies Referenced In The Guardians Of The Galaxy Franchise

Pop culture references are one of the MCU’s favorite forms of currency. Tony Stark has a pop culture-inspired nickname for just about every character he encounters and Spidey’s plan to win the airport battle in Captain America: Civil War was inspired by “that really old movie, Empire Strikes Back.”

RELATED: 10 Times The Guardians Of The Galaxy Proved They're The MCU's Best Characters

James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy movies have been jam-packed with pop culture references. Peter Quill compares “The Orb” to just about every famous MacGuffin from movie history and also shares the Earth legend Footloose with Gamora. That's far from all, though.

10 The Maltese Falcon (1941)

When Peter Quill acquires the first Guardians movie’s MacGuffin, he brings up plenty of famous similarities from throughout history: “So, this orb has a real shiny blue suitcase, Ark of the Covenant, Maltese Falcon sort of vibe...”

John Huston’s film noir classic The Maltese Falcon follows private investigator Sam Spade’s search for a mysterious statuette and the villains that stalk him along the way. It's similar in that vein to what happens to the Guardians when they get the orb.

9 The Usual Suspects (1995)

The titular team in Guardians of the Galaxy is first brought together when the Nova Corps arrest them all and send them to be imprisoned in the Kyln. James Gunn takes a moment to introduce all the characters individually as they stand in a police line-up.

This is a nod to the mugshot montage that introduces all the main characters in Bryan Singer’s 1995 crime thriller The Usual Suspects. Singer’s movie revolves around the police interrogation of a notoriously unreliable narrator, all leading to an ironic twist.

8 Cobra (1986)

When Ronan is waging war on Xandar in the first Guardians movie, he says, “You Xandarians and your culture are a disease.” One of his prisoners says, “You will never rule Xandar,” and he snaps back, “No... I will cure it!”

This seems like a nod to the iconic poster tagline for the Sylvester Stallone-starring ‘80s action thriller Cobra: “Crime is a disease. Meet the cure.” Stallone himself joined the Guardians franchise in Vol. 2.

7 The Hangover (2009)

The scene in Guardians of the Galaxy in which Rocket compares Quill’s bag to a purse is a nod to a similar scene in The Hangover in which Phil – also played by Bradley Cooper – calls Alan’s bag a purse.

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In The Hangover, Alan justifies carrying a satchel because Indiana Jones has one. In Guardians of the Galaxy, Quill would probably justify it for the exact same reason.

6 Metropolis (1927)

Fritz Lang’s 1927 masterpiece Metropolis is one of the earliest and most influential science fiction movies ever made. It’s fair to say that if Lang didn’t break all the ground he did in Metropolis, then the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise (and sci-fi blockbusters in general) might not exist.

James Gunn includes a reference to Metropolis in the design of side villain Ayesha in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Her throne and gold skin give her a similar look to Maria, the robot in Metropolis.

5 Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

James Cameron’s sequel to The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, significantly raised the stakes from the first movie by bringing a second Terminator into the mix. It’s widely regarded as one of the greatest sci-fi action movies ever made, so it’s hardly surprising that it was an influence on Guardians of the Galaxy.

During the climactic dogfight over Xandar in the first Guardians movie, Nebula hops aboard a ship in mid-air and throws out the pilot before taking control of the vehicle herself, just like when the T-1000 hijacked a helicopter in T2.

4 North By Northwest (1959)

Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest is a fast-paced spy adventure about a case of mistaken identity that culminates on top of Mount Rushmore. It’s the closest thing audiences have to a Bond movie directed by Hitchcock.

James Gunn includes a nod to North by Northwest’s iconic cropduster scene in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 when Nebula’s spacecraft fires down on Gamora in a cornfield on Ego’s planet.

3 Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)

Quill compares the Orb in Guardians of the Galaxy to the Ark of the Covenant from Raiders of the Lost Ark, another mysterious MacGuffin that holds an unspeakable amount of power.

RELATED: Raiders Of The Lost Ark & 9 Other Timeless Action Masterpieces

In general, Raiders seems to have been a huge influence on the pulpy adventure tone of the Guardians movies, along with Star Wars. The early trailers drew comparisons to Han Solo and Indiana Jones, but the hilariously subversive reality is that Quill is instead just a dopey ‘80s kid who wants to be like Han and Indy.

2 Mary Poppins (1964)

When Yondu is using his arrow to float down to the surface of Ego’s planet, Quill jokes that he looks like Mary Poppins, Disney’s magical English nanny whose umbrella allows her to fly.

Since he’s unfamiliar with the Julie Andrews hit, Yondu asks, “Is he cool?” Quill says, “Hell yeah, he’s cool,” and Yondu shouts out, “I’m Mary Poppins, y’all!” This line has since been turned into a boatload of memes.

1 Footloose (1984)

Obviously, the most famous movie reference in the Guardians franchise is Quill’s retelling of Footloose. He presents the movie to Gamora as a “legend” from Earth’s culture.

He enlightens Gamora with the age-old tale of “a great hero named Kevin Bacon” who taught a town that dancing is the greatest thing in the universe. Gamora calls back to this in the final battle when she excitedly exclaims, “We’re just like Kevin Bacon!” Footloose was brought up again when the Guardians talked with Peter Parker and Tony Stark in Avengers: Infinity War.

NEXT: 10 Classic Movies Referenced In Reservoir Dogs

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