- The opening, with Peter Quill stealing the Orb, borrows heavily from the opening sequence in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
- Peter's laser pistols bear more than a passing resemblance to the Covenant Plasma Rifle from Halo: Combat Evolved, or also the laser pistols from The Black Hole (1979).
- The Hadron enforcer looks like a larger, blockier version of the Bio Rifle from Unreal Tournament 3.
- Several are direct nods to the pop culture that young Peter would have been exposed to as a child of the late 1980s, prior to his abduction from Earth:
- Peter calls Ronan's necro-soldiers "Ninja Turtles".
- In prison, Peter states the Orb has a "Ark of the Covenant, glowing briefcase, Maltese Falcon-esque vibe."
- Peter initially calls Groot "The Giving Tree", and later refers to Rocket as "Ranger Rick", after the raccoon mascot of the children's magazine of the same name.
- Peter's ship is named for The '80s actress Alyssa Milano. note
- Peter gets Gamora to listen to some of his music by telling her of the Earth legend Footloose, and the great hero Kevin Bacon. (Bacon also starred in James Gunn's Super).
- A quote borrowed from Space Invaders: "Shoot them before they hit the ground!"
- Upon being marched into the Kyln, Gamora, Rocket, Peter, and Groot recreate the Abbey Road Crossing.
- Ronan's comlink to Thanos on the Dark Aster displays as a Huge Holographic Head, similar to a scene in The Empire Strikes Back and another in The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz.
- In the MCU's typical fashion of Easter eggs to other Marvel comics books, when Peter tries to sell the orb to the Broker, you can see Staff of One among items in his store.
- There's also a reference to director James Gunn's previous foray into snarky sci-fi: slugs from Slither in one of the Collector's glass cases.
- Peter's giving the bird to Nova Corps during his mug shot ("Oh, I'm sorry. I don't know how this machine works.") is akin to Goose "accidentally" flipping the bird in Top Gun ("I hate it when it does that, I'm sorry.")
- The grim aesthetic of Ronan's army (grey metallic interior and armor with elaborate decorations, Magitek liquid pools, minions used as computers, vaguely undead-looking Faceless Goons (although the Sakaarians are insectoid, not undead, but they do pilot ships called Necrocraft) in grey, pseudo-medieval armor) heavily resemble the Necromongers. This in a film that has them attack a Solar Punk planet and stars Vin Diesel.
Shout Out / Guardians of the Galaxy