Ford v. Ferrari

Director James Mangold made movie magic happen.

Movie Screening: Awardsline, Deadline

I was lucky enough to attend the Awardsline Screening by Deadline of the biopic drama Ford v. Ferrari, an action movie with a story line that delves into the motor sport.

While the title suggests a competitive race it truly sheds a light on the close friendship between Carroll Shelby, played by Matt Damon, and Ken Miles, portrayed by Christian Bale.


Henry Ford II. commissions Shelby and Miles to design the Ford GT40 racing car to ultimately defeat the dominating Ferrari racing team at the 24-hour long race in Le Mans.

Background Info

James Mangold created a spectacular action movie for an adult audience that has an emotional grip to it without including a love story or blood trenching scenes/sub-plots. On top of that, he somehow managed to put together a riveting film that entertains the viewer for 2 1/2 hours. Most people would think that such a lengthy product would be destined to fail but what it actually accomplishes is the exact opposite. There was not one dull moment or scene that would make you look at the time. It is nothing like a sports telecast, Mangold really managed to put the viewer into the driver’s point of view and so watching the movie feels like the viewer is in the driver’s seat.

Panel Discussion – Insights

James Mangold talking about cutting scenes from the movie to keep the audience engaged.

Even though I am somewhat familiar with the motorsport I had not known about Shelby and Miles. Interestingly enough, the story is very close to the actual events that took place. After the deal of Ford buying Ferrari fell through in 1963, Henry Ford II, CEO of the Ford company, decided to beat Enzo Ferrari and his racing team which was the dominating force at that time. Shelby, who is known to date as one of the most influential car designers in history, built the GT40 together with his best friend Miles. Frankly, the actual racing cars they were driving at the time are all in museums, so they had to rely on replicas to mimic the real cars.

No matter what movie I watch and whether I like or hate it, having a panel after a screening that consists of crew members who spill the beans about their work on the project typically draws my attention to details I wouldn’t even thought of and makes me appreciate it much more.

Director Mangold mentioned that during the shoot stunt performers were driving at a speed of up to 220 mph and about 500 miles to get the shots in.

Another exciting fact is that the original race track of Le Mans doesn’t exist anymore and it was important to Mangold to make the race scenes look as authentic as possible. In order to create the look of the famous curves like the Dunlop Curve the team was scouting for locations that would resemble the original track. They ended up filming on location throughout Georgia which comes closest to portray south of France’s landscape. That meant to get the shots of the cars of every location in the various stages of the race, so the more along the cars where in the race the dirtier they got. Only a few shots were taken in France, the rest was filmed in California. In the end, the editors put it all together to make it look like the actual track.

Ford v Ferrari was released on November 15–fasten your seatbelts, get ready, set GO!

Ford v. Ferrari – Official Trailer