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Unwavering ambition in 'Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend'

Ferruccio playing with a Ferrari 400 GT and Countach toy car on his desk.

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Few other names in the automotive industry conjure images of speed quite like Lamborghini. Named after the Cento-born industrialist who founded it, the Lamborghini brand has grown to become the constant foil to Ferrari sports cars since its inception, and a force to reckon with when it comes to performance, be it on the streets or the racetrack.

In “Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend,” the biopic takes a closer look at the life of the sports car brand’s founder, Ferruccio Lamborghini, as well as the story behind the creation of some of its most iconic vehicles.

In the movie, Frank Grillo takes the title role, while Gabriel Byrne plays Enzo. Mira Sorvino is also present as Lamborghini’s second wife, Annita.

From tractors to luxury cars

Ferruccio, and his partner, Matteo, entering the Mille Miglia race with a modified Fiat 508.

The movie opens with an iconic race between a Lamborghini Countach driven by Ferruccio and the lesser-known Ferrari Mondial (think 308 but four-seater) driven by Enzo, serving as the metaphor for Ferruccio’s competitiveness with Enzo.

The movie walks us through Ferruccio’s beginnings, returning from the Second World War and looking for a far more exciting life than simply harvesting produce at his family’s farm. We’re given a glimpse of his expertise in mechanics through a race that sees him and his partner Matteo pit against more experienced teams, including that of Enzo Ferrari and his first sports car, the Ferrari 166. Eventually, we see the start of Lamborghini Trattori, the tractor company he founded that led to his early success as an industrialist.

The movie depicts Ferruccio personally doing repairs on his Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California.

Easily the highlight of the movie is the famous anecdote brought to life that led Lamborghini to start his sports car company. Thanks to the success of his tractor company, Ferruccio was able to afford several Ferrari sports cars but always found their clutches problematic. He’s even shown performing repairs on them himself. He approaches Enzo Ferrari to offer advice on how to fix this problematic clutch, only to be rudely dismissed and told to go back to working on tractors.

As you can imagine, this becomes the start of the long rivalry between Ferruccio and Enzo, and Ferrari and Lamborghini sports cars.

A car show on the big screen

Ferruccio's collection of sports cars parked at his headquarters.

“Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend,” will truly be a treat for car aficionados as the movie isn’t shy about spouting car terms and technical lingo. The movie shares many Lamborghini innovations throughout from the tractor’s use of a gasoline starter paired with a diesel engine, the horizontal four-barrel carburetors first debuted on the 350 GT, and the famous preference for the ‘Longitudinale Posteriore’ mounting of the engine. The film even goes on to suggest the origin of pop-up headlights or the Miura’s notable eyelashes.

The 350 GT, Lamborghini's first sports car.

There’s visual eye candy as well in the form of a modified Fiat 508, Ferrari 166, Porsche 356 Speedster, and Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster. Of course, there are also multiple Ferraris, such as the Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California, Dino 246 GT, 275 GTB, and Mondial Quattro Valvole. As for the Lamborghinis, there are starring roles for the 350 GT, Miura P400, and Countach 5000.

The film focuses mainly on Ferruccio himself; his rise to power, his untenable ambition, and perhaps to his detriment, his passion for women and extramarital affairs. Throughout the film, we’re given glimpses of his natural charm and wandering eye.

It’s not the entire Lamborghini story either as there’s no mention of Lamborghini’s most controversial model, the LM002, and the car company’s tumultuous time in the 80s passing from one owner to another. It’s unfortunate that his son, Tonino, an accomplished watchmaker, with a reputable brand of his own, is given little time in the film. It thankfully ends with the Countach, arguably the car company’s zenith and the model most will likely associate with its peak.

“Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend” is highly recommended for those who’ve heard whispers of its founding but aren’t quite familiar with the whole story. Indeed, the man was quite the industrialist, fueled by unrivalled ambition, but not without shortcomings, particularly when it came to his closest friends and family. It’s a must-watch for those keen to learn more about automotive history.

For those keen to watch it, “Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend” is exclusively shown on premium streaming platform Lionsgate Play. Lionsgate Play can be streamed with a PLDT Home subscription – with its fast and reliable connection allowing crisp, high-definition clarity to perfectly showcase the movie’s racing scenes, gorgeous vistas, and eye-catching cars. Besides “Lamborghini,” Lionsgate Play also carries more blockbuster movies and TV shows available for viewing anytime of day. All PLDT Home customers can avail their complimentary access to Lionsgate Play until June 1, 2023, just by visiting