All the movies of the Matrix trilogy have this distinct greenish tint during most of the scenes. Though it can inferred that the greenish tint denotes the matrix, but I want to know why "greenish"? What is distinct about green that makes it suitable for this story? In other words what does it resemble?

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    Notice that across the trilogy, scenes in the "real world" all have a blue tint, providing contrast against happenings in the virtual world. Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 19:59
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    Just a quick note that this was actually not so clear cut in the original release of the first movie. The green tint was added to more scenes and increased in others when the movie was re-released in the Matrix trilogy box set. See dvdactive.com/editorial/articles/… for more information and examples.
    – trlkly
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 22:02

6 Answers 6


The green tint is suggestive of the early monochrome cathode monitors, a piece of imagery associated with early computing:

enter image description here

The Wachowski's wanted to create a mood palette, so they could cross cut between the Matrix and the Real world and an audience could immediately identify where the action was occuring through the use of such a colour scheme.

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    Fun fact this monitor from 1981 had an orange display, the greener displays are "newer": en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasma_display#mediaviewer/…
    – invalid_id
    Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 11:44
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    Maybe worth mentioning: one inspiration for The Matrix was Ghost in the Shell, which also had a green color scheme.
    – Oliver_C
    Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 12:49
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    And I would in turn add that the rather contrastless upto dull colouring scheme of the in-Matrix scenes also added to its unrealistic and sterile feeling.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 13:13
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    @Oliver_C Additional fun fact: The movie Avalon by Mamoru Oshii (same director as for Ghost in the Shell) had a orange (yellow? sepia?) tinge throughout, in all layers of the depicted "reality". Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 16:55
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    @invalid_id I think you mean (this plasma display of 1983)[en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasma_display#1983]. On the other hand, the (VT220 terminal)[en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VT220] terminal, an improved VT100, was also introduced in 1983, and Wikipedia says: "To meet the needs of various national regulatory agencies [citation needed], the VT220 was available with CRTs that used white, green, or amber phosphors." Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 17:00

This was discussed by the notoriously secretive Wachowskis in one of the very few interviews they did (at the insistence of their distributor) in order to promote The Matrix.

WachowskiBros: One of the things we tried to do with the Neb for when we were shooting “in the real world” was use long lenses to separate the humans from the backgrounds as opposed to when we shot the Matrix we used short lenses to place the humans in specific deep spaces. We also tinted all of the lights blue in the “real world” and green in the Matrix.


Spark: What made you decide on the green tint for being in the Matrix?

WachowskiBros: It was a whole motif inspired by the phosphorous green of old PC’s.


I like the answer @JohnSmithOptional gave. Also, the directors have explained that they thought the color blue was too happy/cheerful, so they chose to make the sky within the Matrix green. The one time that bright blue is used is in the last half hour of the 3rd movie: a ship flies way up above the clouds, in the Real World, and there's a moment of beautiful blue sky. I think Trinity or someone gasps. Then they fall back through the clouds into the darkness to battle the Machines.

(I'm sorry I can't cite the source where the directors said that, but I'm SURE I've heard or read it. Might have been on the DVD bonus material.)

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    They gave a blue tint to all of the scenes taking place in the "real" world. Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 20:00

I have an additional reason to add (though I agree that the primary one is due to the greenish tint of computer screens like VT100s). The physical city where they shot The Matrix, Sydney, is also known as the Land of Oz (Oz, short for Aussies, short for Australia) and much of the city uses green marble as a tribute to the Emerald City of Oz.

This made much of the shooting of the scenes within the Matrix already inherit a greenish hue (think of the twins and the gov't lobby scenes). I suspect the Wachowskis might have been subtly conscious of this. Green probably just felt right to them for many reasons and it certainly plays perfectly into the movie as a whole.


There is far more symbolism in the Matrix than most people realize. The green tint is symbolic of the basis of a system of control. It permeates our world today. Those who control its issuance have total control over just about everything - including our governments and political process. It is the lie - the nightmare - that the vast majority are unaware they are a willing participant in.

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    You might want to provide a little more elaboration to back up your theory, though. For example, why green and how is that color related to the issues you describe?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 12:40
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    Green is money is power?
    – mlepage
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 15:11

All the above answers are ignorantly incorrect. The tint is green because it was a rush job and the green screen studio colour bled onto characters and props, so the adjusted with some colour tinting so that cg and real should blend seamlessly.

However with the first matrix was a lot less greenish because they didn't rush for the money, worked out the lighting like professionals and took their time to do a good job.

A similar thing can be noticed on Lord of the rings, the first one done well and the other two rushed and looks green.

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    Do you have any sources to back any of that up at all?
    – Nick Coad
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 6:27
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    @gnack: I don't know about "rushed," but chroma key bleed over can be a difficult problem to tackle for short shoots let alone a whole movie. Giving a green wash to the whole frame does in fact serve to hide some of the problems this would cause. So I think this poster is not correct, but the green tint was a great bit of serendipity: it fixes a technical problem and adds a ton of symbolic context at the same time.
    – Yorik
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 20:10
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    @Yorik I wasn't contesting that it was possible, just that it was what actually happened.
    – Nick Coad
    Commented Oct 21, 2015 at 4:59
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    This is complete garbage posited as fact with no evidence—and in face of evidence to the contrary from the actual makers of the movie. Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 13:58
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    It should also be noted that all three of those PJ versions of The Lord Of The Rings were shot and edited — well, shot at least — on the same schedule: i.e. they were all more–or–less completed prior to the cinematic release of the Fellowship. Delaying the releases by a year each was so as to strike the market during peak profitability. Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 6:38

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