Skip to main content

It’s the one thing that takes a racing movie from good to great: a bitter, contentious, eventful rivalry. Sure, bleeding-edge racing is interesting enough to grab your attention. However, a gritty battle between two high-speed racers gives a motorsport movie an edge over the competition. Take notes: critically acclaimed films like “Rush” and “Ford v Ferrari” deliver. 

When it comes to racing rivalry movies, these titles have the rest topped

Don’t worry; we’re not going to cite cringe-worthy lines from the “Fast and the Furious” franchise. Well, it’s not really a racing film franchise anymore, is it? No, we recommend checking out these wild and wonderful titles for the very best in racing rivalries. 

  • “Rush” (2013)
  • “Ford v Ferrari” (2019)
  • “Grand Prix” (1966)
  • “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” (2006)

No list of racing rivalry movies would be complete without mention of “Rush.” Ron Howard’s depiction of the epic Formula 1 showdown between Niki Lauda and James Hunt will have you on the edge of your seat, even if you know the outcome of the historic rivalry. 

From their first interactions in Formula 3 to their championship-defining battles in Formula 1, the Lauda-Hunt rivalry is one of the best. Unsurprisingly, the movie takes a top spot on Rotten Tomatoes’s list of the best racing movies ever. 

A display showcases a Ferrari P3 and Ford GT40 for one of the best racing rivalry movies: 'Ford v Ferrari'.
A Ferrari P3 and Ford GT40 on display | Kevin Winter via Getty Images

Beyond the racers themselves, “Ford v Ferrari” tells the story of one of the wildest rivalries in racing history: Enzo Ferrari and Henry Ford II. An admittedly petty series of misunderstandings and malice led to a fearsome showdown between the Shelby-led Ford team and the experienced racers at Ferrari for the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Further back in Hollywood’s racing repertoire, “Grand Prix” spins a fictional yarn about Pete Aron, played by James Garner, as he attempts to win the 1966 Formula 1 championship. However, one thing stands in his way: Jean-Pierre Sarti (Yves Montand). Throwing in the French driver’s two previous championships makes for a pretty spectacular showdown. 

Ok, so “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” isn’t the most serious of racing movies. However, it is one of the best. When Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen aren’t spouting some of the most quotable comedy lines in movie history, they’re duking it out for NASCAR domination. The result? “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” is among the best racing rivalry movies.

Source: Rotten Tomatoes