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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Abagnale goes to see Goldfinger at a cinema, and shortly afterwards meets an attractive ex-model. During this sequence, the song "The Look of Love" plays in the background. This was written for another Bond film, Casino Royale, which wasn't released until two years later.
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.
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.
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.
When Frank walks through Miami International Airport surrounded by newly recruited Pan Am stewardesses, the stewardesses are wearing their hats wrong. The Pan Am emblem is supposed to show from the front, whereas these recruits wore their hats with the emblem toward the back.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the FBI office, all of the desk chairs are Pollack chairs. Designed by Charles Pollack for Knoll in 1965, it's possible that these chairs might have gotten to the FBI offices by that date. What's not possible is that the FBI would have spent the money on these chairs; they are very expensive and would never have been standard government issue.
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 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.
The filmmakers would have us believe that, in the space of one day, Frank reorganized the high school assembly schedule, interviewed each girl, secured their parents' permission to travel to Europe for several months, had them all fitted perfectly in uniforms and accessories and then just disappeared?
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 seems very unlikely that she would have had that sweater in her clothes, and if she did her clothes would have been pink as well from the wash.
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.
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.
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.
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.