The most obvious references are the ones that hark back to the spy movies and shows of the ‘60s and ‘70s, which inspired Kingsman, including everything from the villain’s lair at the end of Kingsman that harks back to the greatest Bond villain hideouts including Blofeld’s volcano lair in You Only Live Twice (pictured) and a changing room that turns into an elevator which has been used in "Man from UNCLE" as well as Marvel's SHIELD comics.
The film opens up with that famous line from Dire Strait’s “Money for Nothing,” sung by popstar Sting, who appeared in Vaughn’s early production, Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (co-produced by Sting’s wife Trudi Styler).
Star Wars’ Luke Skywalker plays Dr. James Arnold, a scientist kidnapped in Kingsman although in the comics, it’s the actual Mark Hamill who is kidnapped by the “Star Wars” fan villain, who is actually Dr. James Arnold in the comics vs. Samuel L. Jackson’s Richmond Valentine.
Colin Firth’s Harry Hart makes a comment to Eggsy about his situation being a bit like the 1983 Eddie Murphy-Dan Aykroyd comedy about a homeless guy who is brought into the world of high finances, drawing a parallel to Eggsy’s recruitment.
The Def Jam hip-hop mogul was one of the inspirations for Samuel L. Jackson’s Richmond Valentine, particularly his dress style, complete with NYC baseball cap.
There are plenty of Bond references, but there are also a few sly references to the ‘60s television show “Get Smart," starring Don Adams, including a nod to the famous shoe phone he used.
Kingsmen agents are named after the famed knights led by King Arthur with Michael Caine playing Arthur, Colin Firth as Galahad, Mark Strong as Merlin, etc. This might not seem particularly groundbreaking, until you realize that these names weren’t use in the comics and that Vaughn’s former collaborator Guy Ritchie’s next movie is about the Knights of the Round Table.
You wouldn’t expect either group to show up in the soundtrack of a spy movie, but in fact “Freebird” and “Give It Up” are used during two of the film’s craziest and most unforgettable action sequences.
Even the movie’s U.S. release date is a clever nod, since it comes out on February 13, the day before a certain Hallmark holiday. It might seem random until you realize that Jackson’s baddie is named "Valentine" and he sets his masterplan on “V-Day.” So maybe moving the release from last October might make more sense as it pays homage to Jackson's quirky but unforgettable bad guy.
Not really a reference as much as an odd factoid, but Jason Flemyng has appeared in every single one of Vaughn’s films as a director and a number of the films he produced, but he’s noticeably absent in “Kingsman." There are a few roles he probably could have played and we thought maybe he appeared in a pivotal church sequence but turns out that's not the case. You can find out why in our upcoming interview with Vaughn.