The 24 Hour War (2016) Movie Review

By: Movie Snurb (A Toast) –

The 24 hours of Le Mans is one of the biggest sporting events of the year. It is also the oldest active sports car race in endurance racing dating back to 1923. Henry Ford II had always wanted to get into motor racing and knew if he could win Le Mans he’d be able to put Ford on the map. However, he decided to buy Ferrari because they weren’t doing so well at the time in the 1960’s. So in May of 1963 Henry Ford II with his team of suits and Enzo Ferrari with a local lawyer sat down and agreed on a price of 16 million dollars for Ferrari. However, while reading through the contract Enzo noticed a stipulation that Ford would also control the motorsport aspect for Ferrari. Enzo wanted to retain control of the motorsport aspect for Ferrari, so in an Italian tirade Enzo and his lawyer got up and walked out. Then Henry Ford II declared “Build me a car that will beat Ferrari at Le Mans.” Thus the 24-hour war was born. No I will not give everything up because you should absolutely watch this thrilling and brilliant documentary.

Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari

A Toast

This documentary does a fantastic job at covering a lot of information and history in a short amount of time. It doesn’t feel rushed or too fast to understand everything. The doc covers the history of Ford and Ferrari all the way up to 1960. Then it covers the history of the 24 hours of Le Mans. Then we get into how the war started with the botched attempt of Henry Ford acquiring Ferrari. So in 1963 began the 24 hour war, and it raged on until 1970.

This doc runs like a fictional film. There is so much drama in it and in the history it feels like you’re watching an action movie. It reminds me of Citizenfour. That doc about Edward Snowden had so much drama in the truth that we didn’t need a dramatized film version like Snowden. They could make a film about this feud and in the right hands it could be a brilliant film, but it’s not necessary. The documentary stands all on its own and is absolutely fascinating. I guarantee if you have any interest in motorsports or cars you’ll be on the edge of your seat during this film.

Ferrari 330 P3

I also feel like the film is a proper memorial for Ken Miles who was a driver for the Ford team and helped bring them them their first win at Le Mans. He was tragically killed during testing of a car with the Shelby American team. Not only is this a memorial for Miles but also for Carroll Shelby, who was responsible for helping Ford develop the Ford GT 40 MK II,  the car that ultimately dethroned Ferrari at Le Mans. Shelby only just recently passed away in May of 2012. Both Miles and Shelby left a large legacy on the sport of racing and the automobile industry.

Ford GT 40 MK II

Verdict

This was one of the most fascinating documentaries I’ve seen since Citizenfour or The 13th. If you’re interested in Motor racing or cars, I couldn’t recommend this doc enough. Just watch it!

The 24 Hour War (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time the show old footage of racing at Le Mans.

Take a Drink: for every Ford car that is mentioned not finishing a race.

Do a Shot: for every gorgeous car you see that belongs in an art museum.

Pour out a Drink: for Ken Miles and Carroll Shelby.

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