As Frank first walks down the street in his Pan Am uniform, a Fedex delivery truck is partially visible in the background. Federal Express wasn't founded until 1971 and the Fedex logo on the truck was designed in 1994 when the company officially adopted the Fedex brand name.
When Carl is shown Frank's yearbook photo, the closeup reveals that the photo is printed using the scatter dot pattern typical of a modern ink-jet printer, rather than the halftone dot pattern of printing processes of the day.
Frank calls Carl every Christmas, starting in 1966. In '66 Carl is working alone. The next time in '67 Carl is working with his team. Then the next year, when Carl and Frank are in France, the subtitles say 1967. Shouldn't it be 1968?
In the beginning of the movie, Hanratty visits Abagnale in a French prison and notifies him the terms of his extradition "according to the European Convention on Human Rights". France did not ratify this convention until 3 May 1974.
During the parts of movie that are set in the early-to-mid 1960s, Pan American Airlines is constantly referred to as "Pan Am." A shot of its office building even shows the "Pan Am" logo on it. However, Pan American Airlines was abbreviated as "PAA" during this time, and did not adopt the "Pan Am" logo until 1972.
When the plane carrying Frank and Carl lands in the States, we are shown a sequence where the wheels touch the runway. The exterior shots of the landing plane are of an Airbus A310, which did not fly until 1983. The shots of the taxiing plane are of a Douglas DC-8. The interior shots are of a 707.
Early in the film in the sequence showing the family's move from a house to an apartment, there is a shot of the apartment building taken from the street outside. As the camera pans upward to show the whole building, a modern video security camera can be seen in the top right corner of the shot, apparently mounted on a telephone pole opposite the building.
When Hanratty and Abagnale are aboard a plane at Fiorello LaGuardia Airport in 1969, a shot of the New York City skyline shows the World Trade Center towers fully built. However, the towers were not completed until 1973.
In the film, the term "unsub" is used to describe Abagnale. The term "unsub" wasn't used by the FBI until the middle to late 1980s, and became popular with the advent of the TV series by the same name, starring David Soul.
Brenda is last seen waiting at the Miami airport directly behind a sidewalk curbcut for wheelchairs which was not introduced until at least the mid-1970s, particularly after federal legislation for the handicapped was enacted.
At the Miami airport, Checker cabs with impact absorbing bumpers are seen. Impact absorbing bumpers did not appear on cars until late 1972 (for the 1973 model year.) The cabs are at least 1974 models, when impact absorbing bumpers for both the front and back of the car were required.
When Frank interviews potential stewardesses (in 1966 or 1967), one of them begins to sing "Leaving on a Jet Plane". Although the song was written in 1967 by John Denver, a widely-released recording was not made until 1969.
In the beginning of the movie there are four Citroens parked in front of the prison. One of them is a Citroen 2cv Charleston (the dark-red/black behind the police cars). This car was produced in the 80's, so it would have been impossible to have one parked outside in '69.
While Frank and Carl are flying back to the US Frank looks out the window and tells Carl that they are over Fiorello LaGuardia Airport and runway Number 44. All runway ends are painted/labeled based on the compass direction or bearing it is facing or heading. A Due North is runway "36", meaning 360 degrees and the opposite end marked "18", for 180 degrees. Runway numbers include 1 to 36. No runway 44 exists.
During the "Go Fish" scene, Cheryl Ann negotiated $1000 for Frank to spend the night with her. She asked him to endorse his $1400 cashier's check (fake) over to her in exchange for $400 cash in return. However, he did not actually endorse the check with a signature before she took it from him. This may have been intentional to show that Cheryl Ann was not paying attention to detail.
The four-color Heidelberg Press is a complex press that requires lengthy training to use well. The checks Frank is producing require advanced press skills. Assuming Frank Abagnale is a bright individual, it's possible he could have acquired the skills necessary to operate the press. But given the difficultly of operating the press to produce the checks he's printing, it's unlikely that the owners of such a press would give a neophyte operator unlimited access to it, especially without their supervision.
When Frank Jr. gives the new car's keys to his father at the restaurant, Sr. takes the ribbon off the box, and sets it down to the right of his plate. In the next shot the ribbon is to the left of his plate. The box itself moves around and alternates between partially open and completely closed.
Frank Abagnale Jr.is given a co-pilot's jacket (two stripes) at the outfitters. However, immediately afterwards when he is seen walking away he's wearing a senior co-pilot's jacket (three stripes) and continues to wear that rank throughout the pilot scenes. He is also seen with four stripes in the movie, captain's uniform.
It is sunny at poolside at the Tropicana in L.A., with young ladies sunbathing. When Abagnale is almost caught in his motel room, he points to the "perp" being escorted to the car by "another Secret Service man." The streets are clearly wet, and the car is covered with raindrops. (See trivia.)
When Frank gets to Miami International Airport to wait for his fiancée, a car driven by a man wearing a hat stops right behind him. When Frank looks around searching for potential police, the door of the car behind is opening. In the next shot, the car behind him is gone.
When Hanratty and his two assistants go to Paula's house, one of the assistants grabs a piece of dessert and tries to reach a fork that is on a plate in front of Hanratty. Hanratty has a paper in his right hand in one shot while he's looking at the lady. In the next shot is right hand is empty and free to instantly grab a fork for his colleague and hand it to him in that comedic stabbing motion.
When Frank impersonates the substitute French teacher in order to take revenge on the bullies who bumped into him in the hallway, he shouts for order in the classroom then asks which chapter the previous teacher left off on. Frank Jr then opens his book up to the correct page, and after embarrassing one of the bullies by making him read out loud, he begins to walk to the front of the room. When he is in the aisle in the classroom, he holds the book open as he walks. After the shot changes angle and distance, he completes his walk to the front of the room, but the book is now closed.
At the Miami airport, after Frank leaves Brenda at the curb, Carl and his group are seen walking through the terminal. Two uniformed police officers are seen running up behind the group and passing them on the left of the screen. They are then seen circling behind the group of FBI men and running up and passing them two more times.
During the engagement party, shots from inside the bedroom show it to be so windy that, when the window is left open, Frank's money is flying everywhere. However, outside shots of the party show it to be a calm night.
En route to Hanratty's first confrontation with Abagnale, Amdursky and Fox are wearing sunglasses in one shot as the car turns into the hotel parking lot (after the "knock-knock joke"), but not in others.
(at around 1h 21 mins) When Brenda is telling Frank, Jr. about her abortion, she has one hand in her lap and the other up by her mouth. In the next shot, a side view of Brenda, where Frank, Jr. attempts to comfort her, both hands are by her side, her left resting on the bed.
When Frank first arrives at the FBI office, Carl shows Frank to his new office and Carl sets a box of files on Frank's desk. The flexible desk lamp is open and ready for use. The next shot, Frank is sitting at his desk and there is no box and the lamp is closed.
At the end of the film, when the camera pans out through the FBI office, the last row of file cabinets can be seen being pushed together into place after the camera has passed through. A crew member can be seen on the left side of the screen trying to duck out of the shot after you see him pushing the left file cabinet.
When Hanratty is briefing fellow FBI agents about check routing, the first US map has many geographical errors: Kansas City is where Omaha should be, St. Louis is in middle of Missouri, and Boston is in Maine. When the same map is shown again, the cities are correctly located, and the map shading scheme has changed.
Stopping a press like the one shown in the movie would not result in a flurry of cut checks flying through the air. Additionally, the cutter would be a machine that could fit the entire width of the paper, and make the precision cuts required for things like checks.
When Frank, Jr. runs away to NYC he buys a one way ticket from New Rochelle to Grand Central Terminal for $3.50, which is way too high. At about the same time (1966) a round trip ticket from Bridgeport (more than twice as far from GCT) cost $3.51.
The interior of the TWA 707 showed open overhead racks, which was correct for that era. However, no luggage was permitted to be stored in those racks, only hats, coats, pillows, and blankets. It wasn't until enclosed overhead bins came along that luggage was allowed up there.
In the "To Tell The Truth" episode at the beginning of the movie, all three "Franks" are shown to be wearing pilot's uniforms. In the actual episode only Frank actually wore the pilot uniform, the two imposters were dressed as a prisoner and a doctor.
Some of the Checker Marathon taxi cabs seen in the earlier part of the movie had the larger, heavier silver-painted "girder"-style bumpers. The United States government-mandated 5 mph bumpers were not introduced until 1974 on a Marathon.
When Frank pretends he is interviewing a senior pilot for a school paper to gather more info on pilots, the pilot gives Frank a pilots license that is " three years expired". FAA licenses have no expiration date, they are valid for life. To use one, you must have a current Medical certificate, which does expire.
Carl wouldn't have been able to travel to France to arrest Frank, he could've just transferred the case to the DST which stands for Département de la Sûreté and they are the equivalent of the American FBI.
On the special features disk, in the 'Cast Me If You Can' section, Spielberg is filmed in a room where the background is blurred. Unfortunately, so is the foreground and Spielberg himself. This happens on all five sub-sections of this special feature.
In several scenes, Agent Hanratty uses the "Weaver Stance" when holding a handgun. This is particularly evident when he first meets Secret Service Agent "Barry Allen" in the hotel room. Although not widely used until the 1970s, the "Weaver Stance" was first developed during the 1950s, so Hanratty could have known it.
When Hanratty runs upstairs at the motel in L.A. right before his first encounter with Abagnale, he hurriedly shows his FBI badge to a woman at the top of the steps. However, his badge and info are facing towards him and not the woman because he was in a hurry to capture Frank.
When Hanratty is in the laundromat he pulls a red sweater out of the dryer that changes his clothes pink. But, the lady who grabs the sweater from him is also doing a white load. It has been pointed out that she is also doing a white load, but that sweater is clearly from a previous load of her laundry, likely a load of colored clothes, It likely clung to the inside of the machine, was missed when she emptied it, and turned Carl's white shirts pink.
When Frank walks through Miami International Airport surrounded by newly recruited Pan Am stewardesses, the stewardesses are wearing their hats and emblems incorrectly because they didn't know better and neither did Frank, the FBI agents and other law enforcement officers wouldn't know the difference either because they were distracted by the beauty of each stewardess which was Frank's intention from the beginning.
The non-speaking role of "stewardess" Miggy is played by Amy Acker for the scene in the hall and when the stewardesses get out of the car with Frank outside the airport. However, inside the airport, another (non-credited) actress has replaced her.
While Frank is watching Goldfinger in the theater, Bond says, 'Tell me Joan, why does he do it?' However, in the real movie Goldfinger, Bond says, 'Tell me Jill, why does he do it?' This is the correct version as the character's name is Jill Masterson.
When the FBI arrive at Roger Strong's house, there is no evidence of any wind out in the garden. The lanterns are not moving, the plants are still, and the congratulations sign is not swinging, and yet there is a strong breeze blowing through the bedroom window when Frank opens it.
The goof items below may give away important plot points.
A title card for the arrest scene is dated "Christmas Eve 1967." Several of the French police cars are Citroen DS models with four front headlights. Citroen did not update the DS to use double headlights until the 1968 model year. Although Citroen, like US automakers, does typically announce new models in the fall previous to that model year's release, it is extremely unlikely the entire fleet of police cars in a small French village would use only next year's model.
Toward the end of the movie when Frank is walking in the corridor tube at the airport there are a couple American Airlines flights announced in the background. This was in the TWA terminal. It's possible that the filmmakers did this intentionally since American bought TWA at the time the movie was filmed, but in the late 60's there would not be an American flight in the TWA terminal as they were fierce rivals.
Towards the end of the film Frank escapes from the aircraft toilet cubicle and drops out of the wheel well on to the airport tarmac. The wheel well is a sealed un-pressurised area, there is no way to get from the pressurised area below the toilets into the wheel well.
During the jet airplane sequence where Frank Abagnale Jr is extradited back to the United States and Carl Hanratty informs Frank that his father, Frank Abagnale Sr., was killed in a fall down the stairs while attempting to catch a train, Hanratty mistakenly refers to the location of the fatal accident as being Grand Central Station. In actuality, the correct name for the famous New York City train station is Grand Central Terminal. Grand Central Station is actually the name of the nearby New York City post office. As a matter of fact, a lethal injury from falling down a stair is most likely when somebody actually runs DOWN on it. On entering a building, somebody has to run UP a stair unless the entrance is in the basement which is not the case here. 'Meaning, Abagnale Sr. tried to catch a train (leaving from Grand Central Terminal) but fell down the stairs of the nearby Grand Central Station.