Ford v Ferrari (titled Le Mans ’66 in some European territories) is a 2019 American sports action drama film directed by James Mangold and written by Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, and Jason Keller. The film stars Matt Damon and Christian Bale, with Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe, Remo Girone, and Ray McKinnon in supporting roles.
The plot follows a determined team of American engineers and designers, led by automotive designer Carroll Shelby and his British driver, Ken Miles, who is dispatched by Henry Ford II and Lee Iacocca with the mission of building the Ford GT40, a new racing car with the potential to finally defeat the perennially dominant Ferrari racing team at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France. In the early stages of the film’s production, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt were cast in the starring roles, but those plans fell through. Mangold was then hired in February 2018, and Damon, Bale, and the rest of the cast joined that summer. Filming began in July 2018 in California and lasted a little over two months.
Ford v Ferrari had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on August 30, 2019, and was theatrically released in the United States on November 15 by 20th Century Fox. The film has grossed $225.5 million worldwide and received acclaim from critics, who lauded the performances (particularly Bale’s and Damon’s), Mangold’s direction, the editing, and the racing sequences. It was chosen by the National Board of Review as one of the ten best films of the year, and at the 92nd Academy Awards received four nominations, including Best Picture, and won Best Film Editing and Best Sound Editing. For his performance, Bale was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Drama and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role.