A subtrope of Body Paint
where, just before a conflict, a character will take some sort of paint — or improvise with something closer to hand like mud or ashes — and apply it just below the eyes. The effect is something like Tribal Face Paint
or army camouflage, and the implication is clear: The Gloves are Off
Sports players, especially in American Football
, often do this before matches. Ostensibly, this is to reduce glare from the sun (this was examined by the MythBusters
, who deemed it plausible) but its hard to imagine that it's entirely
accidental that they're also making themselves look like warriors.
Compare Lipstick and Load Montage
, where ordinary makeup is applied as if
it were a preparation for battle, and Nose Art
, when this is applied to a Cool Plane
Anime and Manga
- In The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, while traveling through the Land of Milk and Cookies, Max spreads blue and pink frosting across his cheeks before charging at plughounds.
- The Na'vi in Avatar, as well as their allies. Trudy even put warpaint around the cockpit of her stolen Black Helicopter.
- In The Lone Ranger, Tonto's Tribal Face Paint is revealed to be this. He first painted it on with ashes in the midst of a Heroic BSOD after his tribe was slaughtered, and has kept it up ever since.
- Tweety bird daubs on war paint in the locker room during the Lock and Load Montage before the Ultimate Game in Space Jam.
- Shoshanna of Inglourious Basterds uses this trope in the middle of a Lipstick and Load Montage as she's preparing for her revenge against the Nazis, smearing rouge across her cheekbones like it's warpaint.
- The Powhatan tribesmen in Pocahontas apply warpaint in the "Savages" number.
- In King Arthur, the Picts wear blue face and body paint in battle. They're referred to as "Woads" in the film, after the dye they use to do so.
- In the Richard Pryor 1988 comedy Moving, his character Arlo Pear dons warpaint when he decides to go commando on the movers who wouldn't deliver his furniture to the right address.
- Ernest Goes to Camp has Chief St. Cloud do this with Ernest and several campers just before the battle against Krader and his men.
- Predator: Towards the end of the film, Dutch coats himself in mud as he prepares for the final confrontation, which also masks him from the Predator's heat vision.
- The page image is from Braveheart, where the Scots paint themselves with woad. Which the ancient Picts were known for, not the medieval Scottish.
- In Assassins Creed III Connor puts on warpaint before going after Charles Lee for the last time.
- Played with in the second "That Which Redeems..." arc of Sluggy Freelance during a flashback. Dungeon guard Amospia's boyfriend runs into her home to tell her the demons have invaded, only to discover that she's already wearing her warpaint, which takes hours to put on. He quickly realizes she must have expected the attack, sees through her excuse, and demands to know where her dungeon key is. She gave it to the demons in an attempt to save her boyfriend from the frontlines so they could escape together. To say things didn't go as planned would be an understatement...