Guardians of the Galaxy (retroactively referred to as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1) is a 2014 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the tenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film was directed by James Gunn, who wrote the screenplay with Nicole Perlman, and features an ensemble cast including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, and Benicio del Toro. In Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill forms an uneasy alliance with a group of extraterrestrial misfits who are fleeing after stealing a powerful artifact.
Perlman began working on the screenplay in 2009. Producer Kevin Feige first publicly mentioned Guardians of the Galaxy as a potential film in 2010 and Marvel Studios announced it was in active development at the San Diego Comic-Con International in July 2012. Gunn was hired to write and direct the film that September. In February 2013, Pratt was hired to play Peter Quill / Star-Lord, and the supporting cast members were subsequently confirmed. Principal photography began in July 2013 at Shepperton Studios in England, with filming continuing in London before wrapping up in October 2013. Post-production was finished on July 7, 2014.
The film premiered in Hollywood on July 21, 2014. It was released in theaters on August 1, 2014 in the United States in the 3D and IMAX 3D formats. The film became a critical and commercial success, grossing $773.3 million worldwide and becoming the highest-grossing superhero film of 2014, as well as the third highest-grossing film in North America of 2014. The film garnered praise for its humor, action, soundtrack, visual effects, direction, musical score, and acting. A sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, was released on May 5, 2017, with a third film, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, planned.
In 1988, following his mother’s death, a young Peter Quill is abducted from Earth by the Ravagers, a group of space pirates led by Yondu Udonta. Twenty-six years later on the planet Morag, Quill steals an orb but is attacked by Korath, a subordinate to the fanatical Kree, Ronan. Although Quill escapes with the orb, Yondu discovers his theft and issues a bounty for his capture, while Ronan sends the assassin Gamora after the orb.
When Quill attempts to sell the orb on Xandar, capital of the Nova Empire, Gamora ambushes him and steals it. A fight ensues, drawing in a pair of bounty hunters: the genetically and cybernetically modified raccoon Rocket, and the tree-like humanoid Groot. Nova Corps officers capture the four, detaining them in the Kyln. A powerful inmate there, Drax, attempts to kill Gamora due to her association with Ronan, who killed his family. Quill convinces Drax that Gamora can bring Ronan to him, though Gamora reveals that she has betrayed Ronan, unwilling to let him use the orb’s power. Learning that Gamora has a buyer for the orb, Quill, Rocket, Groot, and Drax work with her to escape the Kyln in Quill’s ship, the Milano.
Ronan meets with Gamora’s adoptive father, Thanos, to discuss her betrayal. Quill’s group flee to Knowhere, a remote criminal outpost in space built in the giant severed head of a Celestial. A drunken Drax summons Ronan while the rest of the group meet Gamora’s contact, the collector Taneleer Tivan. Tivan opens the orb, revealing an Infinity Stone, an item of immeasurable power that destroys all but the most powerful beings who wield it. Tivan’s tormented assistant Carina grabs the Stone, triggering an explosion that engulfs Tivan’s archive.
Ronan arrives and easily defeats Drax, while the others flee by ship, pursued by Ronan’s followers and Gamora’s adoptive sister Nebula. Nebula destroys Gamora’s ship, leaving her floating in space, and Ronan’s fighters capture the orb. Quill contacts Yondu before following Gamora into space, giving her his helmet to survive; Yondu arrives and retrieves the pair. Rocket, Drax, and Groot threaten to attack Yondu’s ship to rescue them, but Quill negotiates a truce, promising the orb to Yondu. Quill’s group agrees that facing Ronan means certain death, but that they cannot let him use the Infinity Stone to destroy the galaxy. On Ronan’s flagship, the Dark Aster, Ronan embeds the Stone in his warhammer, taking its power for himself. He contacts Thanos, threatening to kill him after first destroying Xandar; hateful of her adoptive father, Nebula allies with Ronan.
The Ravagers and Quill’s group join with the Nova Corps to confront the Dark Aster at Xandar, with Quill’s group breaching the Dark Aster with the Milano. Ronan uses his empowered warhammer to destroy the Nova Corps fleet. Gamora fights and defeats Nebula, who then escapes, but the group find themselves outmatched by Ronan’s power until Rocket crashes a Ravager ship through the Dark Aster. The damaged Dark Aster crash-lands on Xandar, with Groot sacrificing himself to shield the group. Ronan emerges from the wreck and prepares to destroy Xandar, but Quill distracts him, allowing Drax and Rocket to destroy Ronan’s warhammer. Quill grabs the freed Stone, and with Gamora, Drax, and Rocket sharing its burden, they use it to destroy Ronan.
In the aftermath, Quill tricks Yondu into taking a container supposedly containing the Stone, and gives the real Stone to the Nova Corps. As the Ravagers leave Xandar, Yondu remarks that it turned out well that they did not deliver Quill to his father per their contract. Quill’s group, now known as the Guardians of the Galaxy, have their criminal records expunged, and Quill learns that he is only half-human, his father being part of an ancient, unknown species. Quill finally opens the last present he received from his mother: a cassette tape filled with her favorite songs. The Guardians leave in the rebuilt Milano along with a sapling cut from Groot.
In a post-credits scene, Tivan sits in his destroyed archive with two of his living exhibits: a canine cosmonaut and an anthropomorphic duck.[N 1]
Directed by James Gunn
Produced by Kevin Feige
Guardians of the Galaxy
John C. Reilly
Benicio del Toro
Music by Tyler Bates
Cinematography Ben Davis
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
July 21, 2014 (Dolby Theatre)
August 1, 2014 (United States)
Country United States
$232.3 million (gross)
$195.9 million (net)
Box office $773.3 million