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Catch Me If You Can (2002)

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2:32 | Trailer
A seasoned FBI agent pursues Frank Abagnale Jr. who, before his 19th birthday, successfully forged millions of dollars' worth of checks while posing as a Pan Am pilot, a doctor, and a legal prosecutor.

Director:

Steven Spielberg

Writers:

Jeff Nathanson (screenplay), Frank Abagnale Jr. (book) (as Frank W. Abagnale) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
504 ( 128)
Top Rated Movies #193 | Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 44 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Leonardo DiCaprio ... Frank Abagnale Jr.
Tom Hanks ... Carl Hanratty
Christopher Walken ... Frank Abagnale
Martin Sheen ... Roger Strong
Nathalie Baye ... Paula Abagnale
Amy Adams ... Brenda Strong
James Brolin ... Jack Barnes
Brian Howe ... Earl Amdursky
Frank John Hughes ... Tom Fox
Steve Eastin ... Paul Morgan
Chris Ellis ... Special Agent Witkins
John Finn ... Assistant Director Marsh
Jennifer Garner ... Cheryl Ann
Nancy Lenehan ... Carol Strong
Ellen Pompeo ... Marci
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Storyline

New Rochelle, the 1960s. High schooler Frank Abagnale Jr. idolizes his father, who's in trouble with the IRS. When his parents separate, Frank runs away to Manhattan with $25 in his checking account, vowing to regain dad's losses and get his parents back together. Just a few years later, the FBI tracks him down in France; he's extradited, tried, and jailed for passing more than $4,000,000 in bad checks. Along the way, he's posed as a Pan Am pilot, a pediatrician, and an attorney. And, from nearly the beginning of this life of crime, he's been pursued by a dour FBI agent, Carl Hanratty. What starts as cat and mouse becomes something akin to father and son. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The true story of a real fake. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual content and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gore Verbinski pushed production back a few months because Leonardo DiCaprio had to re-shoot scenes for Gangs of New York (2002), The delay led to James Gandolfini's withdrawal, because he had to go back to work on The Sopranos (1999). He was replaced by Tom Hanks. David Fincher, Cameron Crowe and Lasse Hallstr√∂m were asked to direct before Steven Spielberg, who only wanted to produce the movie, took over. See more »

Goofs

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. See more »

Quotes

[LAST TITLE CARD]: Frank has also designed many of the secure checks that banks and fortune 500 companies use every day.
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Crazy Credits

In the closing credits, Brian Howe is listed as playing "Tom Fox" and Frank John Hughes is listed as playing "Earl Amdursky". However in the film, Howe played Amdursky and Hughes played Fox. However, this was corrected for the DVD release. See more »

Alternate Versions

In the French language version of the film, Frank teaches his high school Spanish class instead of French. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #19.127 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Embraceable You
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Performed by Judy Garland
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

User Reviews

 
Going Places
17 March 2006 | by slokesSee all my reviews

Steven Spielberg has what you might call D.W. Griffith disease. If he can't make a monumental film, he makes an insignificant one. I thought that, anyway, until a second viewing of "Catch Me If You Can" convinced me I was wrong. Like many great artists, Spielberg doesn't have to swing for the fences to make an indelible impression every time out.

Indelible impressions are the sort of thing Frank Abagnale Jr. is good at, especially on the kind of phony checks that fool bank security. After his parents' divorce, Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) sets off in the Big Apple, making his way as an airline pilot, a doctor, and an assistant district attorney, all by means of fraudulent credentials and irresistible charm, not to mention the ability to stay one step ahead of the law, as represented by FBI Special Agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks).

A film that owes a debt to Alfred Hitchcock by way of Henry Mancini, "Catch Me If You Can" zips along on its own kind of sneaky charm, making us root for a character who would probably steal our life savings if given half a chance. At the same time, Spielberg avoids the pitfall of relativism by making sure Hanks as Hanratty keeps some amount of our rooting interest, however much we feel for this crazy kid with his naive belief that, like the mouse stuck in a bucket of cream, he can churn his bucket into butter and crawl out. It's a trick every bit worthy of the subject of this engaging tale.

From the opening moments of this film, featuring the best-ever Spielberg titles sequence (courtesy of Kuntzel-Deggas) and a very unusual but entrancing John Williams score that uses shushing sounds and finger snaps in place of his normal bombast, we realize we are in unusual territory for a Spielberg film. Right away, the theme of mistaken identity is introduced courtesy of a "To Tell The Truth" clip with host Joe Garagiola giving us three Frank Abagnales to choose from. We think we know which one he is, but we don't know as much as we think.

"You know why the Yankees always win?" asks Frank's father, Frank Sr. (Christopher Walken). "It's because the other team can't stop staring at those damn pinstripes." Walken, like Spielberg, works against audience expectations. Sure, he's a criminal, much what we expect from Walken, but he's got a good heart and a beguiling innocence. He believes in the American dream, even if he cons innocent ladies with phony jewelry to get what he wants. Ultimately he's a victim, and a lesson to his son about why the straight and narrow isn't the way to go.

DeCaprio gives a solid, impressive performance, the best I've seen from him, playing a consummate conman who succeeds because he believes his cons as much as his victims. He finds the drama in his character, but also the comedy, in a film that shows Spielberg can be funny even when he involves us in a dramatic story. As we watch him fake his way aboard a cockpit, in an operating room, and even in a bedroom with an expensive callgirl played by Jennifer Garner, we shake our heads at what he gets away with but smile because he's succeeding.

The film also benefits from an immersive sense of the period in which it is set. Williams' score, along with the costumes and set design, present us with a view of the 1960s in its more sophisticated adult form, with Dusty Springfield and Frank Sinatra providing the music rather than the pop and rock acts we think of when we think of the time.

Does "Catch Me If You Can" go on longer than it should? Yes, I think tougher editing would have made it better. But I don't miss the mawkish attempts at uplift that pock Spielberg's lesser work, and the few poignant moments Spielberg throws in amid Abagnale's ruses ring true, especially a moment involving Frank and a little girl at a window near the end of the film that only Spielberg would try to get away with, because he can and does.

No, this is not a great film, just a very good one that might have slipped past a few people on its first release, as it did me. But give "Catch Me If You Can" a chance, and you may find this as a con you not only enjoy being taken by, but wish to experience again just to see how the masters, Abagnale and Spielberg, make their plays.


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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

25 December 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Catch Me If You Can See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$52,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$30,053,627, 29 December 2002

Gross USA:

$164,615,351

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$352,114,312
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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