ford v ferrari: motorly movie review


The team at motorly managed to catch an advanced showing of Ford v Ferrari at the cinema two weeks before UK general release. All thanks to Cineworld’s latest secret screening in Manchester. This is what we made of the latest Hollywood motoring movie.

Le Mans ‘66 or Ford v Ferrari, as the movie is named in the US, is an inspiring retelling of true events surrounding American muscle car designer Carroll Shelby and British racing car driver Ken Miles. The movie follows this dynamic pair as they take on corporate politics and tackle personal obstacles, entering the 1966 Le Mans race with the first Ford GT40 racing car – where they made history.


Resolve, passion and self-belief take Shelby and Miles to the top of the American racing car world. Several pushbacks from self-serving employees at both Ford and Ferrari see Shelby and Miles up against the odds. It’s a story of corporate executives vs true petrolheads, they want to sell cars, we want to win races. This duo embodies the idea of the lovable rogue and has the audience rooting for these motoring underdogs.  

We’re lighter, we’re faster, and if that don’t work, we’re nastier. – Carroll Shelby

Matt Damon gives an emotional and real performance as Carroll Shelby, bringing a true feeling of warmness to the movie. Damon was our personal favourite of the two leading men. Christian Bale gleefully captures the infamous British wit as the ever charismatic Ken Miles. Classic English insults fly around the movie and feature heavily, bringing an element of humour to this otherwise tragic tale. Although, we did find Bale slightly more panto in his portrayal than Damon. However, Bale’s high energy, intense and oh-so-loud racing scenes injected a major shot of adrenaline into the cinematic experience.


Admittedly, we weren’t 100% on the outcome of Le Mans ‘66 or the intricate details of the story (shhh, don’t judge us) when heading in to see the film. However, this all worked in our favour as a movie-goer as this helped to keep the pace, energy and tension high throughout. That can be the downside of a biopic and retelling of true events. The audience already knows the ending. So we can not say how well the film delivers when you do already know the full story and what happens – we’re seriously avoiding spoilers here!


It would have been nice to have had more of a lengthy tribute to Shelby, and particularly Miles at the end of the movie, that did feel a little rushed. However, when taking the entire 2 hours 33-minute movie as a tribute to these men, it is a triumph.

Ultimately, Le Mans ‘66 or Ford v Ferrari, the title we prefer, is a heart-warming, inspiring tale of two underdogs taking on the corporate world with the odds stacked against them, earning their place in racing history. The wonderful thing about Le Mans ‘66, is that it’s not just a movie simply about cars. It’s so much more than that. Themes of friendship, family and drive (forgive the pun) run throughout James Mangold’s latest biopic starring Christain Bale and Matt Damon. Whether you’re a racing car fanatic or not, this film is certainly one to be enjoyed by all.  

I’ve always been asked, ‘What is my favourite car?’ and I’ve always said, ‘The next one.’ – Carroll Shelby

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