Great Uses of Songs in Movies: “Freebird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd in “The Devil’s Rejects”

Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd is one of those songs you tend to hear when the situation has become something that just can’t be changed, seems hopeless and calls for defiance, or is just perfect in some other way for the song. The lat scene in The Devil’s Rejects fits the bill perfectly to be honest. The three in the car, Otis, Baby, and Spaulding have no chance to make it through the police barricade that’s been set up, but they’re not going peacefully. Somehow, despite the horrendous things they’ve done and the horror they’ve left in their wake it seems fitting that they don’t give up, that they fight to the death and until the last breath leaves their bullet-torn bodies.

The revelation in this is that people actually want them to die. It’s not a great thing to wish death on anyone, no matter what they’ve done or how bad it is. But by the end of the movie those that are firmly against the Firefly’s want their execution to be as bloody and as violent as possible. They want there to be no hope for them to survive and to go out in a blaze of glory. It might not be the most noble death in the world but it’s one that they get to choose, which in the eyes of some people would be a pity really since they would no doubt choose for them to suffer as their victims did. Losing one’s humanity in the face of the horrors that another human can put us through is quite easy when you think about it. Vengeance is a very human trait since it demands blood for blood and thinks nothing of the actual nature that goes along with it. Out of every animal in the world humans are among the few that will kill for revenge.

But even those that might have thought the Firefly’s were the ones to cheer on, and in this movie it’s kind of hard to know just who to root for, if anyone, would probably agree that this was the best death that they could have hoped for. Those that live by violence are often lucky to be allowed a quiet, unassuming passing when the time comes. Others would choose to go out as they lived in grand fashion and with guns blazing. In the movies this is romanticized a lot but is hardly ever allowed to transition over into reality. In the real world going out in a blaze of glory is a lot different. It has no soundtrack, isn’t as prolonged as this most times, and at the end there’s really no other feeling other than loss. A firefight is something from which people are lucky to walk away from unscathed, but don’t ever fully get over once it’s all said and done.

Had the trio been apprehended there’s nothing to say that they would have even made it to trial given the disposition of the cops and how they would have likely dealt with them. Death would have been a blessing at some point it seems.

 


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