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Standard Snippet / Ride of the Valkyries

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"Never let it be said that a Chooser of the Slain can't make an entrance."
Harry Dresden, Small Favor, Chapter 43

Daa-da-da-da-DAA-da, da-da-da-DAA-da, da-da-da-''DAAA''-da, da-da-da-daaaaaaa! (YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!)

The "Ride of the Valkyries" (German: "Ritt der Walküren", or "Walkürenritt", as the composer referred to it) is a fanfare-like orchestral music theme originating from Richard Wagner's opera Die Walküre (The Valkyrie), which is a part of the cycle Der Ring Des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung).

When Wagner wrote it, he already intended it to evoke images of epic battles, but what really made that music the Standard Snippet for military badassery in Western pop culture was the iconic helicopter raid in Apocalypse Now (even those who haven't seen the movie know that scene, or at least used to). As a result, when the characters are charging on big machines, raining Death from Above on their enemies or just riding a helicopter, either the soundtrack will play "Ride of the Valkyries", or a reference to it will be made.

The "Ride" has been popular as a standalone piece from the very moment it first premiered as part of Die Walküre in 1870. Ironically, Richard Wagner initially opposed the use and performance of the piece outside of the original opera, even going as far as to write letters of complaint to publishers who sold the sheet music as a separate work. Also ironically, the scene in Apocalypse Now that served as the Trope Codifier was meant to allude to Nazi Germany (Hitler was a huge fan of Wagner and often used his music to rally his troops), reflecting how the soldiers in that scene are intended to be viewed as war criminals—not that it worked.

Compare Also sprach Zarathustra and Carmina Burana. Examples of this song in the media also qualify as Public Domain Soundtrack. Often an example of Orchestral Bombing.

This music has appeared in:

    open/close all folders 

  • A NSFW commercial by Fleggaard features naked female skydivers to the Ride of the Valkyries to advertise a washing machine.
  • A commercial for some Australian breath mint, in which two guys are at a football match. One guy is loud and crude, and keeps shouting at an apparently mediocre player named "Wilson". In the context of, "you're a joke Wilsoooon! come on Wilson!" The other guy gives him a really strong breath mint, the loud guy's face locks into "awed" position and "Ride of the Valkyries" starts playing to close out the commercial.
  • Used in the trailer for The Informant!
  • Used in this 1980s Maxell commercial, and in parodies of it by Family Guy and Stay Tuned.
  • Used in a Nissan Juke commercial.
  • Used in the animated Red Bull commercial "Last Will", when the widow drinks the energy drink before snatching the last will and testament as she flies up to heaven.

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, a film which already owes much to Wagner's Ring Cycle, the eponymous hero bounds across a tsunami to a tune which borrows from the Ride of the Valkyries.
  • UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie, unsurprisingly, employs a rather... unique take on "Ride of the Valkyries".
  • In episode 14 of Season Two of Haruhi Suzumiya, Haruhi can be heard humming the song as she's leaving the rest of the characters for the day.
  • Metal Armor Dragonar also makes use of this song in an indirect sort of way. Meiou Plato can be heard listening to it while sipping from his wine glass shortly after pounding an entire squad of Earth troops flat, cementing him in the audience's mind as a complete badass.
  • In the Japanese version of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Zigfried plays his magic card, "Ride of the Valkyries" which happens to play this song itself in the background while the card's effect is being made.
  • As a movie producer's ringtone in Hanasaku Iroha.
  • Yozora hums this as she accidentally kills Sena with a bomb while playing a video game in Haganai.
  • In Gate's 6th episode, the helicopters flew to the town of Italica armed and with speakers, ready to play the song as they join the fight against the bandits/mercenaries. This is a direct Shout-Out to Apocalypse Now, with JSDF troops quoting the lines "Why do you sit on your helmets?" "So we don't get our balls blown off!" from the movie. In the light novel version, Princess Piña Co Lada weeps when she hears it, having interpreted it has the gods mocking humanity. She imagines them singing:
    Oh miniscule humanity!
    Oh tragic and powerless humanity!
    What of your power and authority? All those things you pass down through the generations, we shall destroy in the blink of an eye, like so!

    Comic Books 
  • Lampshaded in the Midnighter comic book killing machine in which The Midnighter is unwillingly sent back in time to kill Hitler. The Time Cops come to arrest him and he fights back (with his usual brutal efficiency). The chief Time Cop chases him down in her flying tank and plays Ride of the Valkyries over the speakers as she does so. The Midnighter hears the song and hums along "pom te te pom pom, pom te te pom pom"... and realizes that he is about to get blown to kingdom come. Aside from the undeniable style, this is notable for being the second time somebody takes the Midnighter down EVER. Even Batman takes more opening act beatings on his way to victory.
  • In Marvel's G.I. Joe series, Cobra Commander is disappointed after returning from a successful raid against the Joes' headquarters that, as the helicopters come in to land, "Ride of the Valkyries" is not being played for him as he has made standing policy.

  • Jimmy Carr walked on stage to the song during his Terribly Funny Tour.

    Fan Works 

  • It is used in the World War II documentary De Nuremberg à Nuremberg, in the part about the German paratrooper raid that rescued Benito Mussolini from custody in the Gran Sasso massif in Italy on September 12, 1943.
  • In Rebel Without a Cause, a drunken Jim Stark (James Dean) hums it at the police station, among other inebriated antics.
  • In Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (about a big air race in 1910), the theme is used humorously (and in a fully brass version) when the overweight Prussian colonel von Holstein (Gert Fröbe) can't control the side-car he's been left in after the German team's test flight went awry. He ends up crashing in the sewage farm nearby.
  • provides a notorious case of Soundtrack Dissonance, as the tune is played to the sight of the resort for the elderly and frail. The music is eventually revealed to be diegetic, but this rather makes the whole thing even more absurd.
  • Apocalypse Now is, as mentioned above, one of the most famous uses in popular culture.
  • One of the earliest uses of "Valkyries" was in The Birth of a Nation when the heroic Ku Klux Klansmen (no, really) ride to the rescue of the Cameron family.
  • The Blues Brothers, when the Illinois Nazis go off the bridge and fall gracefully through the air during the climax to the epic Chase Scene.
  • In My Name Is Nobody, the soundtrack song "The Wild Horde" features a short recall to Ride Of The Valkyries. It's mainly used in the scenes with the Wild Bunch (a group of 150 outlaws and a tribute to the omonimous film).
  • Ghost Rider (2007), when the helicopters land in the stadium before the big jump. Appears as a Standard Snippet.
  • Jarhead, when the marines watch Apocalypse Now. The narration remarks that, to marines, no film is an anti war film.
  • In Watchmen, it's played straight in the Vietnam flashback, with Dr. Manhattan playing the role of the Angel of Death. A non-standard usage also appears in the original print version of Watchmen. In one of the documents written by the first Nite Owl, he tells the story in how the music factored into the suicide of his boss while he was learning to be a mechanic. As a result he considers it a rather sad piece of music.
  • Super Troopers, during the final Fight Scene, when the Troopers leap out of the bushes and go on the offensive.
  • In the CGI World War II film Valiant, the main villain (a German eagle who hunts Allied homing pigeons) is singing this as he is having a shower:
    Von Talon: Pin on my on my on my MEDALS...on my cheeeeeeeeeeeeest!
  • This song is played by the Mole Clan in Rango, with banjos and other such instruments, while flying on bats.
  • Valkyrie. Outside the obvious name of the operation directly referring to the opera, the Ride is heard on a gramophone in Stauffenberg's house during an Allied air raid.
  • The music plays when Yuri Orlov visits the Berlin arms convention in Lord of War.
  • In the TV movie The Great American Traffic Jam (AKA Gridlock), a squadron of helicopters is deployed during the titular city-wide traffic snarl. As Valkyries triumphantly plays, they drop off their payloads: portable toilets for all the stranded motorists to use.
  • The Flying Monkeys sing the tune while flying on their motorcycles in The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, much to the Witch's annoyance.
  • A soldier in the opening scene of Monsters hums the tune while riding a Humvee and calls it his personal theme song.
  • In Repo Man, by Otto's former friends while fleeing the scene of one of their crimes.
  • In Small Soldiers when Chip Hazzard rides a helicopter into the house.
  • It's used as the protagonists arrive at a concentration camp in the Italian film Seven Beauties. Note that this predates Apocalypse Now by a few years.
  • Averted in the Louis de Funès film The Wing or the Thigh. As the chef protagonist prepares a dish on a radio show, a studio guy puts on "Ride of the Valkyries". He instantly objects, as that's music for large game, like boar or rhinoceros.
  • In Predators, Noland hums this after mentioning that he served on the U.S. Air Cavalry (also an Actor Allusion, because Apocalypse Now was one of Laurence Fishburne's earliest films).
  • In One, Two, Three the Ride is briefly played when MacNamara and co. have to dash to East Berlin at night to snatch Otto out of the jaws of the East German police.
  • In Casper, the Ghostly Trio do an acapella version of the Ride during breakfast while making a landing for the kitchen table like helicopters.
  • In Delta Farce, a comedy about three dimwitted soldiers, as they prepare a raid, one tries to play "Ride of the Valkyries" on their jeep's stereo. The other two have never heard of it and think it is stupid, so they play "East Bound and Down" by Jerry Reed instead.
  • In Golden Films' version of The Little Mermaid, when Lena is transformed into a human and ascends to the surface.
  • In Army of Thieves (the prequel to Army of the Dead), safecracker Sebastian/"Ludwig Dieter" obligatorily has it play on his phone it when working on opening the Walküre safe.
  • In The Snowman, the orchestral intro to "Walking In The Air" is very similar to the intro of "Ride of the Valkyries".

  • The Dresden Files:
  • In Eric Flint's 1632, "Ride of the Valkyries" is used to scare off an Imperial army.
  • Later in the Honor Harrington series, one of the Havenite captain/admirals fancies this before heading into battle. A battle in which over two million people died in a Massive Exchange of firepower between fleets of hundreds of superdreadnoughts. Odin probably got enough heroes to feast in his hall that day, but he may not have had enough Valkyries to process them for a long time. Still the Battle of Manticore was a great battle to play that tune for.
    • In At All Costs, it's mentioned that the civilian head of the Navy of the restored Republic of Haven has allowed captains to use music to replace alarms on ships. When the Havenite Navy attacks the Manticore system, the flag captain of one of the Havenite fleets uses "Ride of the Valkyries" as the General Quarters alarm on her ship.
  • The Laundry Files (by Charles Stross): At the climax of The Fuller Memorandum, Dominique "Mo" O'Brien plays die Walkurenritt on her violin, from atop a truck full of SAS soldiers, to clear a path through a localized zombie apocalypse. The violin is an Artifact of Doom, so it's no surprise that her interpretation of the piece involves magical resonances that human ears were emphatically not meant to hear and that serves as a very effectively deterrent against the zombies in the cemetery.
  • In Nights at the Circus, famed aeriliste Sophie Fevvers performs to, what else, this piece. Walser thinks it's a bit on the nose.
  • It makes an appearance in Skulduggery Pleasant when Stephanie's father accidentally blares it at full volume and breaks the radio so he can't turn it down. Stephanie later takes inspiration from it for her true name, Valkyrie Cain
  • In The Mermaid's Daughter, Robin's ringtone for his daughter Kathleen is "Ride of the Valkyries."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Reversed in an episode of Hogan's Heroes, where the prisoners are playing it in the camp orchestra (actually, it's a record player) to cover up their efforts to have a shot-down flier and a defecting baroness escape in a repaired fighter plane. Of course, they play it while the plane flies away.
    Colonel Klink: [listening from his office] Amazing! Would you believe this is their first rehearsal?
    Fraulein Hilda: They must be trained musicians.
    Klink: These prisoners play Wagner like Germans!
  • The Wire. Rawls plays this on his car's stereo as he gives the order to commence the major raid on Hamsterdam, in the season 3 finale.
  • House of Cards (UK). Francis Urquhart hums this to himself when his political machinations are all working out exactly as he wanted.
  • The MythBusters played this during the episode in which they tested whether firing a gun would set off an avalanche, while riding in a helicopter. Definitely a Shout-Out there. They did a second time when seeing how much water would be needed to put out a grease fire. They brought in a firefighting helicopter with a 500-gallon bucket of water. It was more than enough. And a third time, when they tested the impact from falling on pavement compared to water. They dropped pig corpses sealed in body bags from, what else, a helicopter.
  • An episode of Charmed that featured Valkyries had them steal motorcycles and ride off on them as a rock remix played in the background.
  • In an episode of Eureka, a botanist blasts this out of a set of massive speakers while strafing his fields with a pesticide-spraying helicopter. Cue scenes with Fargo getting chased by the helicopter, having an idealistic conversation with Jack, and running around in military fatigues, all while the music plays.
  • Win Ben Stein's Money uses this song at the end of each episode.
  • Episode three of James May's Man Lab features a remote-controlled helicopter equipped with bottle rockets to blow up wasps. There is only one piece of music for such glorious combat.
  • In an episode of The Big Bang Theory, Raj puts it on in the car when they're on a "quest" to retrieve something.
  • A fragment of this music appeared in The X-Files episode "Vienen" as Mocking Music. Agents Mulder and Doggett are in the communications room of an oil rig, pursued by crew members who have been infected by the alien black oil. They are banging on the door, while Mulder tries to block the door by any furniture he can find and Doggett tries to get the radio working. The static changes to this.
    Mulder: Wagner?
    Doggett: What do you want?
    Mulder: I take it back. It's perfect.
  • In the Breaking Bad Pilot, Hank hums this very briefly.
  • In the very short-lived ''Girls of Hedsor Hall," this snippet played during a pigeon shoot. The contestants seemed to be on the verge of a breakdown.
  • In the fourth Halloween Heist episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Holt makes his entrance in front of a brass band performing this.
  • Loki (2021): In "Journey into Mystery", a remix of this plays when Classic Loki creates an illusion of Asgard itself to distract the timelines-eating monster Alioth.
  • In one episode of Westworld, a character gets injected with a drug called "Genre", which causes him to experience events going on around him as if he were in a movie, complete with soundtrack. During a car chase, he hears "Ride of the Valkyries".

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Daniel Bryan started using this as his entrance music after winning the US title from The Miz. Up until he was released from the WWE, he used an even more kickass rock remix, which fans can't listen to without chanting "YES! YES! YES!" while the music is playing. His entrance theme after moving to AEW still incorporates some of this.
  • Sara Del Rey, used the music at well. Incidentally, she's Bryan's protégé—she reportedly used it because Bryan suggested it. Apparently, he always thought it would be a great theme for a wrestler.
  • Yoshiaki Fujiwara was using this before the both of them, mostly as a tribute to his master Karl Gotch.

  • In Idiot's Delight Harry plays "Ride of the Valkyries" on the piano as French planes start dropping bombs around the hotel.

    Video Games 
  • In Army Men 2, it naturally plays during the mission that is Apocalypse Now in little plastic army men form.
  • Return Fire, a video game on the 3D0 and PlayStation, played this when the player was flying a helicopter.
  • In StarCraft the Siege Tank driver will hum a few bars of it if you click on the unit enough.
    • Sgt. Hammer in Heroes of the Storm does the same thing if you own her and idle on her shop page.
  • This serves as the main theme for MicroProse's AH-64 Apache simulator game Gunship.
  • Also used in the SNES game Air Cavalry as the main and mission briefing themes.
  • Used in La Corda d'Oro Starlight Orchestra as one of the tracks played in Miyazaki levels.
  • Unsurprisingly, this is one of the songs that can be heard on the Classical station in Sim Copter.
  • And, of course, two of the Parodius games.
  • In Nintendogs, this plays when you use the toy helicopter.
  • The old Game Mod "Firearms" for the original Half-Life featured a MEDEVAC helicopter, which a player with advanced first-aid skills could call in to rescue incapacitated soldiers who were outdoors. About 5% of the time, the chopper would play this song, fading out as it left the map.
  • Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix has this song play for a brief time during the Helicopter Extraction level in Colombia, until a shot aimed at the chopper manages to destroy the pilot's boombox.
  • Hearts of Iron uses the piece as a theme tune for both I and III. (II uses a different score altogether.) Parts of it remain in other parts of II's soundtrack though.
  • In Full Throttle a version of this plays whenever a box of bunnies is unleashed, a hilarious mashup of orchestral and cheap synth.
  • While not quite a video game, version 3 of After Dark featured its iconic Flying Toasters screen saver (as usual). It also featured two songs that could be played with said toasters. One was a theme Berkeley Systems came up with, the other was "Ride of the Valkyries". Both songs could be subtitled if need be. The subtitles for "Ride of the Valkyries" read roughly the same as the page quote for this trope.
  • In the What If? mode of Spider-Man (2000), a helicopter pilot will start singing this in one of the stages while he's trying to shoot down Spidey.
  • In Just Cause 2, cause enough damage in a helicopter, and Rico will start humming this.
  • In Far Cry 3, the song first gets played on a record by the villain Hoyt, who comments on his personal taste in European music shortly before casually blowing up a boat full of hostages from his office. The second time it plays in the background when Jason and Riley escape an airfield via helicopter.
  • An arcade game from the early 1980s by Midway called Satans Hollow used this as the game start jingle.
  • In Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego this is one of the songs that plays during flying scenes. In fact, there are two versions of "Ride of the Valkyries", a straight orchestral version and an electric guitar version.
  • In The Devil on G-String, the main character's sister, who is a figure skater, uses this music as background to her freestyle performance. The theme is also used as background music while the main character is planning his undying vengeance over a classmate who accidentally damaged one of his classical music CDs (appropriately, it was a performance of Wagner).
  • In Fallout: New Vegas this plays at the end of Come Fly with Me, as the rockets launch to take the ghouls to the Great Beyond. The launch can be a success...or end badly, depending on your choices.
    • Fallout 4 has it on the Classical Radio station.
  • Duke Nukem Forever plays an awesome rock remix when Duke takes a mounted machine-gun turret on the flight to The Mighty Foot. The reference to Apocalypse Now is fitting given Duke is a parody of 80s action heroes.
  • Although it doesn't appear in the game itself, the official strategy guide for the original Command & Conquer denies that GDI A-10 pilots listen to heavy metal and Ride of the Valkyries during combat.
    • Covert Operations even shipped a version of it, however it went unused. Unofficial patches could re-enable it and Remastered Collection includes it as a jukebox option, allowing you to listen to it in Red Alert as well.
  • One of the songs you can play on the "radio" in Battlefield: Vietnam. Best used in a Huey for maximum effect.
  • Part of the song is used as Von Kaiser's intro music in Punch-Out!! Wii.
    • Funnily enough, in the NES game it also played at the start of Rounds 2 and 3 of the fight against Great Tiger (who is a palette swap of Von Kaiser in that game).
    • Super Macho Man also uses it in the NES Game at the start of round 1.
  • In GTA IV, if you steal an ice cream truck and use the horn, this is one of the songs you hear.
  • Borderlands 2: The bandit pilot of one of the aircraft manages to sing this tune. Somehow.
  • Metal Gear Solid V features it as one of the Walkman songs Snake can listen to while sneaking around and in the helicopter. It can also be blasted from the speakers of your support helicopter, in proper Apocalypse Now fashion.
  • Saints Row IV: The Dubstep Gun (DLC Remix) plays this when set to the Classical custom skin, and every clash of percussion is accompanied with an explosion. It doesn't just score the war, it performs the war!
  • Planetside 2 has a vehicle called the Valkyrie, a small VTOL aircraft with open sides. It has a snippet of the song available as a horn.
  • In Cuphead, this song snippet is played briefly during Wally Warbles' battle theme, "Aviary Action".
  • In The Tomb of Sammun-Mak, the second episode of Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse, we find out that little Amelia Earhart listens to "The Ride of the Valkyries" as a lullaby.

    Web Comics 

    Web Games 
  • Can be heard in a cutscene of the Mata Nui On-Line Game, as the Le-Matoran prepare their Kewa bird for flight. As they take off, the tune goes all funky, and stays that way for the subsequent Mini-Game.

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • At Caltech, it's traditional to play "The Ride" very loud during finals week at 7 AM with the largest, loudest speakers available in order to make sure no one oversleeps. WARNING: Playing it at any other time (even on the same day) will get you stuffed into a shower if you're lucky.

Alternative Title(s): Ride Of The Valkyries