This year’s Oscar night saw two statues awarded to a car movie, which is quite something if you consider that the wonderful Le Mans, despite featuring an impeccable Steve McQueen and some racing scenes of unprecedented realism, was never even in the running for an award back in its day.
But this time, it was a question of American pride at stake: after all, McQueen drove to victory in a Porsche 917, whereas in this movie, it was the Ford GT40 that took the crown. “America First”, as some might say…
Although the story of the movie is based on truth and masterfully recreated, it has some serious historical flaws. Indeed, it is perhaps stretching the imagination somewhat to believe that Ferrari actually tipped his hat in acknowledgement of the Americans’ achievements at Le Mans. Overall, though, it is a gripping film, because its backbone is true. It is true that Ford tried to buy Ferrari, and that Enzo’s refusal to sell prompted him to start racing under the brand’s own name. It is also true that without the expertise of Carroll Shelby, who managed to turn the AC Bristol, a modest English spider, into the mighty and hugely successful racing Cobra, Ford would never have achieved his objective.
The portrayal of the racing itself, if perhaps a little exaggerated, is pretty authentic. After all, in those days, there could be no counting on telemetry, radios and strategies. It was up to the drivers to manage the race, even though (without wanting to spoil the ending for those who haven’t already seen the film), in the case of Ford v Ferrari, the men in the pits also played their part! All in all, well worth seeing!