Ford v Ferrari is a film worthy of a date night and no not just because Christian Bale is in it. We first had a chance to see during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival with big thanks to Sterling Vineyards, Official Sponsor. The film is now in theatres and yes, we’re heading back to see it again!
Based on the remarkable true story of the visionary American car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and the fearless British-born driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale), who together battled corporate interference, the laws of physics, and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford Motor Company and take on the dominating race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966. It’s is known as the world’s oldest endurance circuit with a 3000-mile race that runs for 24 hours held in the town of Le Mans, France.
No one at that time could imagine that the practical Ford Motor Company could compete against the most powerful race cars in the world. But when Ford executive, Lee Iacocca convinced Henry Ford II that they needed to elevate the image of Ford for the next generation of consumers they needed to do something dramatically different. At that time, Ferrari was financially strained, it was the perfect opportunity to scoop them up. But when Iacocca’s terms were deemed ludacris, negotiations fell apart and things got overheated.
Iacocca (who in real life just past away in July 2019) met with Enzo Ferrari to finalize a deal for Ford to purchase Ferrari, the Italian car automaker broke off talks with “Ford makes ugly little cars, in ugly factories,” we had to snicker. But that sent Ford II off into to a “whatever it takes” spending mode to the tune of $9 million not only because of a bruised ego and the need to leave a personal legacy beyond his family’s name but to also prove to they could take on the racing world. It became the world’s greatest rivalries in racing history.
In 1965, Ford hires Shelby to help build the GT40 race car. In turn, Shelby brings on Ken Miles, an accomplished race car driver and highly skilled mechanic who was described as someone who was difficult to deal with. While Shelby understood his friend’s blunt honesty not everyone at Ford was comfortable. It was Shelby who put everything on the line, including the ownership of his car company Shelby American, to convince Ford II that Miles was the best person to go behind the wheel at the grueling Le Mans race.
Ford v Ferrari (the film is also known as “Le Mans 66” in Europe) directed by James Mangold is full of unforgettable moments. You sense the immense pressure, passion and what all was at stake for everyone involved. But it’s the loyal and trusting relationship between Shelby and Miles that really makes the film – and that camaraderie can also be felt between Damon and Bale.
The film is well over 2 hours but goes by at a steady speed. There are so many layers to this story that makes it a fascinating watch. Racing isn’t just about fast cars it’s also about technology, physics, strategy, and psychology. This film is what dreams and great movies are made of.
Here’s the trailer: