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Ode to Joy (German: An die Freude) is a poem written by Friedrich Schiller. It describes the ideal of humanity united in joy and friendship, in a rather overstated way.

The most well-known musical adaptation was written by Ludwig Van Beethoven, who used the text for the choral parts of his ninth symphony. The title Ode to Joy is used to designate Beethoven's melody as often as (or more often than) Schiller's poem.

Ode to Joy functions as national anthem for the European Union.

Tropes used in Ode to Joy include:

Anime and Manga

  • This is Kaworu Nagisa's Leitmotif in Neon Genesis Evangelion. He is also heard humming it on his and Shinji's first encounter.
    • He also plays it on a piano during his introduction on the Manga.
      • On the whole, Ode to Joy describes the plot and themes of Evangelion (especially the Instrumentality) in a rather scarily accurate, if ironic, way.
  • In the Read or Die OVA, Yomiko is heard humming it, and is played when The Suicide Symphony is going to be broadcasted onto the entire world.
  • The heroines sing it in the end of the first Gunslinger Girl anime.
  • The Inuyasha episode "Battle Against the Dried-Up Demons at the Cultural Festival!" has a group of students singing about the Shikon jewel to the tune of "Ode To Joy".
  • The OAV Dragon Half uses this in the closing credits, along with a slew of other Beethoven pieces, as the melody to a song about how much the heroine loves omelets.
  • Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" plays out, with original Japanese lyrics, over the closing credits of Satoshi Kon's Tokyo Godfathers.


  • Featured in A Clockwork Orange; once with a woman singing the piece while Alex and his gang are relaxing at the Korova Milkbar, again during Alex's romp in a music store and once more during the Ludovico treatment. Incidentally, the piece, along with the Ninth Symphony as a whole, is one of Alex's personal favorites and freaks when the government scientists (inadvertently) use it against him during the Ludovico Treatment, robbing him of the pleasure he once had of the piece when he used it for his ultra-violent fantasies.
  • In the Beatles Help!, the boys sing "Ode To Joy" to tame a tiger.
  • Used in Die Hard when Hans and his men open and loot the vault to the Nakatomi Corporation. Referencing this scene, trailers for later Die Hard films would play the song over Stuff Blowing Up.
  • Used in Immortal Beloved's amazing scene of the debut of the Ninth Symphony. Young Beethoven blending into the stars that were reflected off the lake really captures, in Leonard Bernstein's words, the "the child (Beethoven) that never grew up".
  • Very common piece in movie trailers.
  • The Christian hymn "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" is sung to the tune of Ode to Joy and plays a key role in the film Sister Act.


  • Robert Fulghum loves this song. His All I Really Need to Know I Learned In Kindergarten series contains many mentions of this. He suggests combining it with a modified version of the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" song to form the fight song of the human race.
  • In Poul Anderson's The Long Way Home, an astronaut stranded in the future by unexpected Time Dilation (he'd been using what he thought was Faster-Than-Light Travel) whistles a bit of it. "Freude, schöne Götterfunken..." 5000 years have passed and Earth's culture has changed in many ways, but Beethoven's music still stirs at least one listener.

Live Action TV

Web Original

Western Animation

  • In one episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog, the computer downloads itself into Muriel's body and engages in death-defying stunts. Computer!Muriel's leitmotif is this tune.
  • Briefly played at the end of an episode of King of the Hill where Hank is able to relieve himself after a bout with constipation.