As Enzo Ferrari's fast Rosso-Corsa racing cars dominate the mid-1960s motorsport world, the American car designer, Carroll Shelby, is forced to retire after winning the demanding 1959 '24 Hours of Le Mans' endurance race. But, before long, an unexpected proposition by the Vice President of Henry Ford's motor company, Lee Iacocca, will offer an opportunity to beat the Italians at their own game. Now, under those pressing circumstances, the British sports car driver and racing engineer, Ken Miles, reluctantly agrees to lend a hand and improve the firm's image, as Ford's race team has less than ninety days to rewrite history. As a result, the non-conformist duo comes up with the mighty Ford GT40 Mk I high-performance racing car. Can Shelby and Miles break Ferrari's streak?


James Mangold


Christian Bale
as Ken Miles
Matt Damon
as Carroll Shelby
Jon Bernthal
as Lee Iacocca
Caitriona Balfe
as Mollie Miles
Josh Lucas
as Leo Beebe
Noah Jupe
as Peter Miles
Tracy Letts
as Henry Ford II

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by g_cotterell 10 /10

Puts my faith in the movie business again

This is what cinema is supposed to be! Amazing chemistry and acting by both leads, seamless CGI and practical effects to enhance the film, a firecracker script, a true story, pulse pounding soundtrack, booming sound mix, and edited so well that 2.5 hours flies by! Completely and utterly engaging . So good in fact I saw it twice within 24 hours . Once in Imax and once in Dolby cinema .

Reviewed by nickfarf-42699 10 /10

As close as possible to the truth but!

I was at the Philadelphia Film center premiere on 11/11/19 to view this terrific movie. At the age of 68 and a tifoso of Ferrari since age 8, ( 1959 ), this movie hit a nerve. Truth vs Fiction. This was a David vs Goliath movie, however Goliath wins. The movie recreates a golden era of auto Racing. It was seriously dangerous with death and injury a guarantee at every race. These drivers were absolute warriors and we're fearless. Now Ferrari winning LeMans six straight years in a row from 1960-1965 is actually the David in this movie. Ferrari for all their dominant winning form was still a tiny company that sold fancy $15,000 sportcars to support his racing team. Winning LeMans was a $16,500 team prize. These Ferrari drivers were salaried. The prototype class at that time was wide open with no upper limit on engine size. There was an under 2 liter class that Porsche and Ferrari dino control, but the over 2 liter was unlimited. I read carefully about the Ford move to acquire Ferrari, as daily news reports would cross the associated press. The movie is spot-on about Ford cars lacking desire back then. Chevrolet had the Corvette, Corvair and sporty looking Impala and Chevelle. Now Ford is the Goliath in this movie. They are the big corporate giant with unlimited resources. Ford paid for the Ford GT. It was really a Lola Gt with a Ford badge put on it. Ford put their name on every innovation provided by all the racing/equipment suppliers that went into that race car. Unlike Ferrari being designed, engineered and built handmade in that Italian factory. Ford spent more money on developing a racecar than the total price to buy Ferrari outright. Hired every Nascar team to provide expert pit crews, engine builders and offered 80,000-100,000 to each driver for one race . Now the movie, it's a movie that non race cars fans can and will enjoy. It shows how Shelby and Miles are really the heroes of the winning team. This was true. Their relationship is spot on in the movie and they know what is needed to win. They battle off the track against Ford executives and against Ferrari on the track. What is not disclosed in the movie is the quitting of the Ferrari ace driver John Surtees. When he left Ferrari, the team was devastated. He along with Ford's Ken Miles were two true warriors. Also not shown but lightly covered in the movie is the three years of disastrous outing for the Ford racing team. Did Shelby steal the Ferrari pits stop watches? Did Shelby actually throw spear lug nuts into the Ferrari pit lane to make the Ferrari pit crew think that the race car was missing a nut on the car out on the track? Did Enzo Ferrari actually tip his hat to honor Ken Miles? Who really knows. Everybody is dead. I remember the lug nut rumour in the 1960s, as that was a southern stock car trick. I never heard about the theft of Ferrari stop watches by Shelby. As far as Ferrari tipping his hat. Ferrari was known for or not attending many races. All that aside, did I as a Ferrari fan enjoy this movie. My answer is a Yes, Yes, Yes. With the exception of James Garner in Grand Prix, this is the best movie to deal with the sport of autoracing. Bonus is that it is also a great human interest story and they create the mood of the sixties as U vividly remember it. I rate this movie a ten and should be nominated for Oscars.

Reviewed by jordanucsd 8 /10

"I had no idea. If only my dad were alive to see this."

I've seen a lot of car movies, as a self-professed car nut. As such I judge them harshly, and immediately dismiss entries that don't provide enough reason to care about what is more important than the car: the driver. Think of the Fast and Furious and Transformers franchise. If you care about the driver, and the driver cares about the car, you care about the car. The car is a tool, an extension of the hero's body, and gains provenance with the audience when it helps the hero on their personal journey. Movies that come to mind that do this effectively include Gone in 60 Seconds, Bullitt, Need For Speed, The Italian Job, Batman Begins, and The Bourne Identity. Some of the James Bond movies do it well, like Goldfinger, The Spy Who Loves Me, The Living Daylights, and SkyFall, but many do not because of the lack of character arc in the story. We cannot forget about perhaps the greatest car movie of all time, Back to the Future. The shining example of how to make the car a proper star.

And now enters a film by James Mangold and starring talented actors Matt Damon and Christian Bale called Ford v. Ferrari. My arms crossed, and expectations lowered, I was ready to be disappointed. Although I love Mangold as a director, somehow I assumed there would be a Michael Bay approach to the movie, putting more emphasis on car action sequences than the characters. To my surprise, not only was I dead wrong, but the film became one of the best car movies I had ever seen.

Thinking back, I should have known better. Unlike many car action oriented movies, this one is based on a true story, and fact-based dramas tend to take themselves more seriously. It is sort of a shared biopic between legendary sports car designer Carroll Shelby and race car driver Ken Miles. The movie focuses on their efforts to beat Ferrari at Le Mans, a story I'm well aware of (like I said, bonafide car nut). And Mangold is an Oscar winning filmmaker collaborating with Oscar winning people such as Damon and Bale.

And boy do their talents shine in this movie. The driving engine of the story, if you will, is the loving but at times clashing relationship between Shelby and Miles, portrayed brilliantly by Damon and Bale in a manner that in my opinion is more entertaining and engaging than the dynamic duo of DiCaprio and Pitt in Once Upon A Time ... in Hollywood. Damon and Bale have different styles of acting, but both arrive at the same place: creating a character that faces disappointment in the search for victory.

Shelby has to come to terms with the disappointment of having to quit his racing career due to heart problems, and creating a winning team at Le Mans is his way of proving to himself he's still a winner. Miles is desperate not to disappoint himself because unlike Shelby, he's never had a shot at winning at a big race. This is due to his abrasive personality, despite an amazing talent on the race track. On top of this, Miles desperately doesn't want to disappoint his wife and son, who support him fervently in his dream. Both characters have their own obstacles in search of escaping disappointment, with Shelby dealing with the suits at Ford and Miles dealing with problems of the car in the race as they present themselves, and the trial of besting the other race car drivers. Their individual struggles intersect in the mutual desire to win at Le Mans, resulting in a brotherhood and mutual love for each other that feels genuine and earned.

Henry Ford II, played by a very effective Tracy Letts, reveals in a quick but moving scene why he wants to win at Le Mans. After Shelby takes Ford on a whirlwind nauseating ride with the new race car they have engineered, Ford breaks into tears. Not so much because of the physically jarring experience of being jostled around at breakneck speed, but because of what the car means to his family name. "I had no idea. If only my dad were alive to see this," he tells Shelby. Damon, in that scene, responds with wet eyes. The character Ford reveals how much he doesn't want to disappoint his family legacy. In fact, the entire endeavor started with an insult from Ferrari, stating, "You're only Henry Ford the second, you'll never be Henry Ford." And in an earlier scene, Ford compares himself to his legendary grandfather in a speech to Ford factory workers concerning his disappointment in current company sales.

Cars represent man's desire to chase a dream. Whether it be designing the fastest car, or driving cars the fastest. And despite all the obstacles that may get in man's way, the biggest one is always himself. But with perseverance and the help of others, this obstacle can too be overcome. Ford v. Ferrari manages to get to the heart of this message with deceptive ease and supreme confidence. The film's absolutely gorgeous cinematography and direction capture some of the most amazing car sequences ever put to the big screen. A surprising but believable behind the scenes factoid is that Mangold and the cast are not car nuts at all, and were simply moved to tell the story of the characters. This is why the movie works so well, because they understood the car as supporting the story rather than the other way around.

Ford v. Ferrari is an absolute winner, with memorable performances from its cast, and my favorite Mangold picture thus far. For me, it is one of the best of the year, and as far as car movies go, one of the best ever made, and miles away from a disappointment.

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