Since Henry Ford’s first Model Ts rolled off the lot in 1908, Americans have been in love with cars. This groundbreaking leap in industry began in Europe, however, where the fascination and passion for cars has persisted since the 19th Century. Our favorite mode of transportation comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors, but no matter the make or model, the joy of hearing the engine roar as you accelerate down an open road remains constant.
In the history of automobiles, two companies have risen to the top of the field for their iconic designs, world-renowned performance, and industry-leading innovation—Ford Motor Company and Ferrari. Ford, the pride of the American motor industry, and Ferrari, an Italian icon synonymous with luxury, have come to epitomize the cross-Atlantic competition for road dominance. These giants of industry have made a tremendous impact on the world of racing, winning a combined thirteen 24 Hours of Le Mans titles, an endurance race regarded as one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world. Their rivalry on the track is highlighted in the new action drama Ford v Ferrari, starring Christian Bale as race car driver Ken Miles and Matt Damon as automotive designer and entrepreneur Carroll Shelby.
Ford and Ferrari continue to make an impact off the track as well, becoming pop-culture icons and the go-to brands for many amateurs and car enthusiasts. It’s no wonder why Ford and Ferrari have also become staples in the movies, a medium in which the history of each company can be tracked through memorable scenes showcasing the latest and greatest models as well as unforgettable classics. Join us as we count down the top 10 Ford and Ferrari movie moments, ranked not by the car model but the moment itself and the role the car played in that moment.
10. James Bond 2-Wheel Stunt
Movie: Diamonds are Forever (1971)
Car: 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1
Bond movies are chalk full of luxury brands and iconic cars, and Diamonds are Forever (1971) is no different. Sean Connery returns to the role of 007 James Bond and gets behind the wheel of a red 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 to lead the police on an exciting chase down Las Vegas’ Fremont Street. In perhaps the most famous stunt from the action/thriller, Bond uses a ramp to put the Mustang on two wheels and escape down a narrow alley. Just as famous as the stunt is the mistake that shows the Mustang exiting the alley on the opposite two wheels. To explain the change, the filmmakers added a scene showing Tiffany Chase (Jill St. John) and James Bond inside the car as it shifts from one side to the other in the alley.
9. BAD BOYS II MacArthur Causeway Chase
Movie: Bad Boys II (2003)
Car: Ferrari 550 Maranello
Bad Boys II (2003) has many shootouts and car chases, but one stands out above the rest. Detectives Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) and Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) are pursuing a stolen car-transport truck down Miami’s MacArthur Causeway in a silver Ferrari 550 Maranello when the chase takes a wild turn. The gang members driving the stolen truck open fire and unchain the cars, sending them rolling down the causeway toward the Ferrari as the detectives take evasive action while simultaneously shooting back out of the side windows. The crazy action combined with the back-and-forth between Marcus and Mike (and Marcus’ black Mike Vick jersey) make for a very entertaining scene.
8. Gran Torino Yacht Jump
Movie: Starsky & Hutch (2004)
Car: 1975 Ford Gran Torino
Any fan of the hit TV series Starsky and Hutch (1975-1979) will recognize this red 1975 Ford Gran Torino, the pride and joy of cop David Starsky. In the 2004 movie, Starsky (Ben Stiller) and his partner Ken Hutchinson (Owen Wilson) pursue Reese Feldman (Vince Vaughn) in the Ford Gran Torino until Feldman escapes aboard his yacht, quite literally the end of the road for the two detectives, or is it? Following Hutch’s plan, Starsky floors the car down the shipping yard docks and flies off a ramp with the intention of landing on Feldman’s yacht. There are many things that could go wrong in this scenario, but you’ll have to see for yourself how this hilarious scene plays out.
7. Enter the Tyrannosaurus rex
Movie: Jurassic Park (1993)
Car: 1992 Ford Explorer XLT
All of the vehicles at the one-of-a-kind theme park are 1992 Ford Explorer XLTs decked out in Jurassic Park paint jobs with some additional features. The Fords take center stage when two stall outside of an enclosure one rainy night after the park’s power shuts off, but this is not just any enclosure holding back your common predators. Enter the Tyrannosaurus rex. The behemoth breaks through the wires and walks among the tour vehicles in one of the most hair-raising scenes in the movie. Tension builds as Lex (Ariana Richards) and Tim (Joseph Mazzello), the two children stranded in one of the cars, catch the T. rex’s attention. The dinosaur proceeds to rip the car to pieces with Lex and Tim inside.
6. Pacino’s Joy Ride
Movie: Scent of a Woman (1992)
Car: 1989 Ferrari Mondial t Cabriolet
Prep school student Charlie Simms (Chris O’Donnell) gets to take a red 1989 Ferrari Mondial t Cabriolet out for a spin thanks to The Colonel Frank Slade (Al Pacino), who bribes a Ferrari salesman. Feeing sorry for Slade, who is directing Simms on how to drive the luxury sportscar, Simms decides to move over and let Slade take the wheel. There’s only one problem with that brilliant plan…Slade is blind. We’ll let your imagination run wild with this one.
5. THELMA & LOUISE Cliff Jump
Movie: Thelma & Louise (1991)
Car: 1966 Ford Thunderbird
Thelma (Geena Davis) wants to go on a camping vacation with her best friend Louise (Susan Sarandon), but feels she has to ask her husband first. Wanting to avoid the conversation, Thelma makes the decision to take off without asking permission and in Louise’s 1966 Ford Thunderbird. The two get into their fair share of trouble, and after spending nearly the entire movie evading the police across state lines, Thelma and Louise find themselves staring down a cliff in Moab, Utah with police cruisers and helicopters at their backs. Not ready to give up, they decide to end their journey on their own terms. Hand-in-hand, the two accelerate the Ford Tunderbird off the cliff and soar through the air to their fate.
4. The end of Bonnie and Clyde
Movie: Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Car: 1934 Ford Model 730 Deluxe Sedan
Director Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde (1967) is widely considered the definitive movie representation of the famed outlaws, portrayed here by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. Almost has famous as the duo themselves is their final ride of choice, a 1934 Ford Model 730 Deluxe Sedan. The couple were driving the stolen Ford when the authorities caught up with them in Louisiana on May 23, 1934. This date looms large over the 1967 movie, with most knowing how it all ends but waiting to see how it will be depicted. Penn’s startling-violent portrayal of the deadly ambush that left Bonnie and Clyde’s Ford riddled with bullets was rare for the time period, and it paved the way for more violent movies to come.
3. James Bond Races Xenia Onatopp
Movie: Goldeneye (1995)
Car: Ferrari F355 GTS
The introduction to notorious Bond girl Xenia Onatopp has big shoes to fill as the first scene following the magnificent pre-title and title sequences, and the thrilling race that ensues doesn’t disappoint. Bond is having “a pleasant drive in the country” with a woman sent to evaluate him when the red Ferrari F355 GTS driven by Onatopp appears in his rearview mirror, sparking a race down the mountainside. The two cars jostle for position as they speed through hairpin turns and past a team of cyclists on their way to the bottom. Although Bond is immensely enjoying the thrill ride, the woman sent to evaluate him is on the edge of her seat with anxiety. She eventually demands that Bond “stop this car at once,” and he does so with a pull of the handbrake, coming to rest alongside a breathtaking view of Monte Carlo down below. Although she never says a word, Xenia Onatopp and her red Ferrari steal this scene, which is saying something considering Bond is driving his iconic Aston Martin DB5.
2. Cameron Releases Anger on Red Ferrari
Movie: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Car: 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California
This scene serves as the defining moment for the tightly wound character Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck). After Ferris Bueller’s (Matthew Broderick) persistent pleas, Cameron agrees to take his father’s prized 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California out for a joy ride; however, he regrets it after a couple of parking attendants go on a joy ride of their own, cranking up the odometer. Back in his father’s garage, high above the forest floor, you’d expect Cameron to completely lose his cool trying to rack his brain on how to make it up to his father, but instead, he takes a stand and plans to confront his overbearing old man before releasing all his pent-up anger and anxiety on the car’s front bumper. Little did he know the odometer and bumper dents would be the least of his worries.
Fun Fact: The car used in the movie is in fact a 1985 Modena GT Spyder California, a replica meant to stand in for the famed Ferrari, of which less than 100 were made. To cover the necessary shots, the filmmakers acquired three of these replica Modenas.
1. Greased Lightning
Movie: Grease (1978)
Car: 1948 Ford De Luxe convertible
The number one scene on our list features a 1948 Ford De Luxe convertible as the center of one of the most famous musical numbers in movie history. The members of the T-Birds greaser gang acquire an old, piece of junk car that their leader, Danny (John Travolta) believes could be transformed into a stunning hot rod. Some of his friends are skeptical, so Danny convinces them with a song and dance number that slips into a fantasy land in which the piece of junk becomes the car of their dreams, “Greased Lightning,” portrayed by a red 1948 Ford De Luxe convertible. The movie, which represented the height of muscle car fame, playd a big part in John Travolta's rise to stardom.
Ford or Ferrari—Which iconic car company do you prefer? Pick a side and watch the rivalry unfold right before your eyes on the big screen when Ford v Ferrari rides into Regal this Friday, November 15th.