The resounding success of Guardians of the Galaxy back in 2014 was great for all involved and it now appears the film has accomplished another feat. For being a fairly lighthearted Marvel Studios film, full of action and comedy, some may not have seen this coming, but the film is actually quite deadly.

Over the years, we see many films that feature gigantic battles resulting in high body counts. War movies obviously make up many of these examples, but plenty of sci-fi spectacles also have their share of on-screen destruction. Well, a recent study confirms Guardians of the Galaxy to be the film featuring the most on-screen deaths ever.

Based on this study, ‘Guardians’ apparently managed to show 83,871 fatalities on screen, which is about 78,000 higher than the next closest film. This high body count is largely due to a climactic sequence where 80,000 Nova Corps pilots are destroyed by Ronan’s ship, the Dark Aster. Naturally, writer/director James Gunn (whose previous films Slither and Super also featured fairly high body counts) was thrilled to hear this news and posted this message on Facebook:

Wow. So according to this article, Guardians of the Galaxy is the “deadliest film of all time” with over 83k deaths on screen. For the record, the second “deadliest film of all time” is Dracula Untold at 5.6k – Return of the King is number four with 2.7k deaths on screen. That’s right – we have 78k more deaths than our closest rival.

Um, hooray?”

Gunn also gave credit to the visual effects artists (as well as the fictional Nova Corps):

This is a massive visual effects sequence that took hundreds of visual effects artists thousands of hours to put together. I can’t tell you how many dozens of times I made them redo the sequence for it to look just right – but I know we were still getting revisions hours before I boarded a plan to begin the press tour in Singapore.

I hope our heroic CGI Nova Corps members know they didn’t die in vain. Not only did they help stop their planet from being destroyed, they garnered a rather sketchy world record in the process.

RIP Garthan Saal and company.

There was also Gunn’s preemptive response to those referencing Star Wars and other properties:

P.S. For all of you writing about Alderan, etc, etc – it’s individual, ONSCREEN EXPIRATIONS, not implied deaths through seeing planets or cities exploding. You also see a lot of planets explode in the Collector’s museum. Stop trying to take this huge honor from me.

Guardians of the Galaxy Star Blasters Guardians of the Galaxy Is The Deadliest Movie Ever


As Gunn notes, the films right behind Guardians were Dracula Untold and The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, as well as the 2002 Jack Ryan adventure starring Ben Affleck, The Sum of All Fears (where a bomb goes off in Baltimore, Maryland). Some of those seem more obvious than others, and the rest of the current top ten includes 3oo: Rise of an Empire, the other Lord of the Rings films, the final Hobbit movie, The Matrix Revolutions, Braveheart and The Avengers. This is all, of course, based around on-screen fatalities that can actually be determined, rather than estimations based on exploding planets or city-wide destruction in films such as Man of Steel.

When one thinks about it, this realization is not all that surprising. The climactic battle does features thousands of ships being destroyed in full view of the camera, and regardless of how much fun there in Guardians, it does not skimp on seeing a certain level of devastation. Not that we need to see a lot more death, but be sure to read up on what was seen at Comic-Con for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 if one really needs an idea on where things are going and how much bigger it may just be.

Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming– July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019Avengers 4 – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.

Source: GoCompare (via The Guardian)