Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend (2022) – Film Review

Lamborghini The Man Behind the Legend (2022) – Film Review Frank-Grillo

Director: Bobby Moresco
Cast: Mira Sorvino, Frank Grillo, Eliana Jones
Certificate: 12

By Liam Bird

It’s one of the most famous stories from the automotive world, the feud – or the argument at least – between Ferruccio Lamborghini and Enzo Ferrari. After the Second World War Ferruccio Lamborghini, a grape farmer’s son with an interest in all-things mechanical, made a fortune manufacturing tractors and air-conditioning systems. His wealth enabled him to buy expensive cars; it is said his collection allowed him to use a different one every day of the week. In 1958 Lamborghini drove to Maranello, in order to purchase a Ferrari. He went on to own several more.

So the story goes, Ferruccio’s Ferrari 250 GT suffered continually from a problematic clutch, so much so in fact that he returned it to the factory for repair. While being made to yet agan wait, Lamborghini sought-out none other than Enzo Ferrari himself in order to inform “il Commendatore” personally of his displeasure, not only with Ferrari’s after sales service but also the quality of his cars.

Ferrari listened carefully, before telling Lamborghini, as only the hallowed and cantankerous Enzo Ferrari could, “The clutch is not the problem. The problem is you don’t know how to drive a Ferrari. Stick to tractors”. (Or words to that effect…).

Incensed by such curt dismissal, Lamborghini vowed he’d never buy a Ferrari again, and promptly retorted ‘Correct, I am a farmer but I’ll show you how to make a sports car and I’ll do it by myself to show you how a sports car has to be.’ In 1963, in St Agata Bolognese – just up the road from Maranello – Automobili Lamborghini set-up shop.

Lamborghini The Man Behind the Legend (2022) – Film Review Gabriel-Byrne


As is always the case with tales of such legendary rivalry, certain elements have no doubt been highly embellished over the years. Still, you’d think a team of people making a film about these things would strive to get as many details as correct as they could. If only that were the case here.

As attractively packaged, shot, and promoted, as Lamborghini: The Man behind The Legend is, as a viewer, and perhaps more importantly a car enthusiast – for surely that’s where this picture is so squarely aimed – you can’t help but be bitterly disappointed at just how so obviously wrong certain all-important elements of it are.

Lead man Frank Grillo does his best to portray a sharp-suited Ferruccio Lamborghini, but constantly struggles to hide his all-American accent (not to mention the way Americans always mishandle a knife and fork). And why, upon presenting the first ever Lamborghini at what’s meant to be the Geneva Motor Show, which in the scene looks as if it’s taking place in a village hall somewhere, and sees a 350GT being uncovered rather than a 350GTV, does he then quote Frank Sintara?

Ol’ Blue Eyes did indeed say “You buy a Ferrari when you want to be somebody. You buy a Lamborghini when you are somebody.” But he didn’t say it until after his visit to the Lamborghini factory in 1969. The Lamborghini 350 GTV (not the 350GT) was first shown to the public in 1963, in Turin.

To be fair, Grillo is not to the only one who’s struggling with his accent. Gabriel Byrne plays the most Irish Enzo Ferrari anyone’s ever heard, and Patrick Brennan, who takes on the role of Lamborghini’s first test-driver, New Zealander Bob Wallace, portrays a man whose voice could’ve have come from anywhere but. Thankfully, he only has a few lines.

Lamborghini The Man Behind the Legend (2022) – Film Review Mira-Sorvino

“Raft of mistakes”

As the film progresses, the raft of mistakes continues to grow. We see what’s clearly a Ferrari engine being unveiled as Lamborghini’s first. “I don’t like the carburettors” growls Grillo’s Ferruccio. We’re not surprised! Enzo Ferrari’s chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce (he never owned one) has been over-dubbed so it sounds like a London Cab; there’s a Ferrari 246 Dino, a car not launched until 1968, parked outside the new Lamborghini car factory in what’s meant to be 1963; Ferruccio Lamborghini drives a Ferrari 250 California (he never owned one). And why, when sat alone at dinner after yet another argument with his long-suffering second wife, played convincingly by Miro Sorvino, is it a Miura that Ferruccio is sketching on a napkin?

Lamborghini’s ground breaking mid-engined masterpiece, the first ever supercar, the Miura, was designed by Marcelo Gandini. Every Lamborghini fan knows that.

The film also continually cuts back to a fictitious race between Byrne as Enzo Ferrari and Grillo as Ferrucio Lamborghini, in which Ferrari drives a Mondial, and Lamborghini drives what’s clearly an American spec Countach. Why? Why too would these two most famous Italians be racing along a road upon which the signs are clearly written in English?

Having sat through Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend in its 90 minute or so entirety, like every Lamborghini fan the world over, I’m sadly all too aware that this story deserved to be told in a much better way. This dreadful film is, for all the wrong reasons, a load of old bull.

‘Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend’ is on digital platforms now


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