Ford v Ferrari

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Ford v Ferrari Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Entertaining, well-paced racing biopic has strong language.
  • PG-13
  • 2019
  • 152 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 27 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 37 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Movie is partly about loyalty, with one friend trying to stand up to powerful authority figures to defend and protect another friend.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Carroll Shelby is a bit of a blowhard and isn't above the occasional dirty trick, but he's brave enough to stand up to powerful men, tries his best to defend and protect his friend. He's portrayed as a hero, a racing champ with hordes of young fans. Ken Miles, while also a racing champ and a good dad, is an otherwise explosive, bad-tempered character, not much of a role model.


Cars crash and explode. Characters on fire. Characters die. Characters get into a fight -- punching, wrestling, etc. Fits of anger/violent tantrums.


Married couple flirts briefly.


Uses of "f--k," "s--t," "horses--t," "a--hole," "son of a bitch," "jackass," "dumbass," "pr--k," "piss," "goddamn," "damn," "hell," "whores," "wanker," "buggered," "screw you." Uses of "oh my God/by God." Cultural slur ("greasy wop").


Coca-Cola mentioned. Racetrack corporate sponsorship includes Budweiser, Coppertone, Good Year, etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Prescription pills taken for heart condition. Background smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ford v Ferrari (also known as Le Mans '66) is a fact-based racing drama about events leading up to and including the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. Starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale, it's briskly paced and entertaining enough to appeal even to nonracing fans. But it does include car crashes, explosions, drivers on fire, and people dying. Characters also fight, punch, and wrestle, and there are some violent temper tantrums. Language is fairly strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," and more. Era-appropriate brands are seen around the racetrack (Coppertone, Good Year, Budweiser, etc.). One character takes prescription medication for a heart condition, and there's some background smoking. A married couple flirts briefly.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJ.fisher November 16, 2019

Great movie, especially in the theatre

Took our three kids (11, 7, 5) to see this movie. There was some swearing (wh**e, ahole, b**ch) but words our kids have heard before. The movie was slow in some... Continue reading
Adult Written byParent2291 December 30, 2019

Ok movie, trailers were for Rated R movies, words such as S*x were said

Soon after the movie starts, the Ford executives are having a meeting and show images (film presentation) as part of the presentation to Board members and menti... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old November 20, 2019

10 year olds Mature 9 year olds.

This movie is absolutely amazing! Definitely should watch it.

Brands such as Coke, Porsche, Ford, Ferrari, and McLaren are mentioned

Drinking,... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bydodovski05 November 19, 2019

Must watch

It is absolutely one of the best movie of this year and wider. It shows us that only with teamwork, persistence and love you can be the best. Shelby is a great... Continue reading

What's the story?

In FORD V FERRARI, race car driver Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) wins the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans race but is forced to retire due to a heart condition. Meanwhile, at the Ford Motor Company, Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal) proposes that the company start making race cars as a way to improve their image with younger drivers. An attempt to partner with Ferrari goes south, so Ford hires Shelby to build their car. Shelby, in turn, hires Ken Miles (Christian Bale), a talented but volatile driver, to help work out the bugs. Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) puts executive Leo Beebe (Josh Lucas) in charge of the racing division, and Beebe immediately sets out to get rid of Miles. But Miles and Shelby have an ace up their sleeve: They actually have the talent to win races and have their sights set on the 1966 Le Mans. Nevertheless, Beebe has one last weaselly plan.

Is it any good?

This enjoyable fact-based racing movie runs a little long, but it manages to keep up a good, breezy pace, focusing more on pure entertainment than on trying to be dutifully "important." At the heart of Ford v Ferrari are two fine performances by Damon and Bale, whose characters forge a touching friendship that's based more on small gestures than on big demonstrations. Miles is a show-off, but Bale makes him seem real, with relatable worries and outrages. And Damon clearly enjoys his clever, quick-witted character, who still somehow makes genuine connections. Just as good is playwright Letts as the stern, rocky second Henry Ford; he's reduced to terrified screaming and joyful tears when Shelby takes him for a high-speed ride in his new car.

At the wheel, director James Mangold gives Ford v Ferrari the crisp, confident energy of his best genre films, Logan and 3:10 to Yuma (the latter of which also starred Bale), without letting it drift into the stodgy, awards-bait seriousness of his previous biopic Walk the Line. Ford v Ferrari is so simple and classic that it could have been sent here directly from the early 1960s. Perhaps its most niggling flaw is Lucas' slimy, one-dimensional villain character, who acts out of pure selfishness. But the racing sequences are impeccably timed, with thundering, thrilling sound design that could convert newbies into hard-core racing fans. Still, the movie's best achievement is the sly way it depicts the central friendship, largely unspoken but still surprisingly tender.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Ford v Ferrari's violence. How does it compare to what you might see in an action movie? What are the consequences? Do you think some people really watch racing just for the crashes?

  • Does the movie glamorize racing? How exciting does it look? How dangerous?

  • Are Shelby and Miles role models? They're both champions, but they're also complex people with weaknesses and dark sides. Does this make them bad people?

  • Why do you think there's so much advertising associated with racing? Does seeing a brand's logo at the racetrack make you want to seek out a specific product?

  • Could Henry Ford II be considered a bully? How does Shelby handle him? What other ways are there of dealing with bullies?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love racing

Themes & Topics

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