Why Do We See So Much Orange and Blue in Movies?

You’ll Never Watch a Movie the Same Way Again…

Firstly, I’d like to begin this post with an apology. I sincerely hope that reading this doesn’t do to you what it did to me. The truth is, I’m more or less unable to watch a movie now without seeing this phenomenon everywhere – especially in the action and sci-fi genres. So the question is, why is there always so much orange and blue in movies?

Seriously, take a look.

Orange and Blue Movie Posters

Okay, I appreciate that I snuck an Anchorman poster into the above examples, which isn’t quite an action film (except of course for the epic fight scene), but the principle still applies. Are you starting to see a pattern here?

This is where my apology comes in – now you’ve seen this, it’s going to be hard for you to un-see it, and it will haunt you and follow you throughout almost every movie-watching experience you have.

As you can see from the above, the hues and shades of orange and blue will differ – some are quite pale, some are vibrant and strong. Sometimes it’s more yellow than orange, and other times the blue is closer to white or grey.

But Why Do They Do It?

There’s a very simple answer for why there’s always so much orange and blue in movies, and it all starts with skin tone. Human skin tones generally fall somewhere in the orange spectrum (naturally, I mean – David Dickinson and the entire cast of TOWIE have taken it a bit far). This is especially true when film makers are using lens filters to enhance or alter the colour palette for increased mood and dramatic effect.

As humans who see in colour, certain colour combinations are attractive to our eyes, and this is most often the case when two colours sit opposite each other on the colour spectrum. Since human skin tones are generally in the orange spectrum, it can be aesthetically pleasing to compliment this with the colour that sits opposite that, which is, well…

Well, I’m sure you’ve figured it out.

It’s blue. Just in case you didn’t. It’s blue.

So, for the last time, I’m sorry. I hope that this information won’t affect you as it has me. Part of me is always on the lookout for this when I sit down to watch a good flick these days. In fact, there are some movies in which it’s evident in almost every scene, and hard to ignore.

What movies have you seen that show an overabundance of orange and blue? Let us know in the comments below.