Catch Me If You Can (2002)

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Set in the 1960s, this exhilarating biographical crime drama is based on the life of Frank Abagnale, who, before his 19th birthday, successfully performed cons worth millions of dollars using ingenious ways of defrauding people. As an impressionable teenager growing up in New Rochelle, he idolizes his father, who gets into 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. When he runs out of money, he begins posing as a Pan American World Airways pilot, a Georgia doctor, and a Louisiana parish prosecutor, gaining people's trust and defrauding them. Almost from the beginning of this life of crime, he's been pursued by a dour FBI agent, Carl Hanratty. How long will Frank succeed in outrunning Carl? What ingenious tactics will Frank use to con people?
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio

Crew: Steven Spielberg (Director)

Genres: Action, Crime, Adventure, Thriller

Release Dates: 25 Dec 2002 (India)

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Did you know? The Aston Martin DB5 that was seen in the movie was sourced by Autosport Designs, Inc. of Huntington Station, New York, a specialist exotic car dealership. Dreamworks contacted Autosport Designs and asked if they could supply a silver DB5. However they did not have one in stock and instead contacted a customer and arranged for his car to be used. The car is the same make and model used in the movie Goldfinger (1964), one of Steven Spielberg's personal favorite films. Read More
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Film Type:
Feature Film
Colour Info:
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
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.

Revealing Mistakes
When Frank goes to the flight deck to ride on the jump seat, the jump seat that is pulled out has no restraints on it.

Revealing Mistakes
When Carl flips through Frank's high school yearbook looking for his photo, the close-up shot reveals the same names duplicated on multiple pages of the book.

Crew/Equipment Visible
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.

Crew/Equipment Visible
A number of large blue production tents are seen in the reflection of the bank window outside right before Frank sees the PanAm pilot and stewardesses exit a cab.

Errors in Geography
When the French police come to catch Abagnale, the plate number of their car is 44 (number of the state). Montrichard's plate number is 41; Loire Atlantique is 44.

Errors in Geography
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.

Factual Mistake
When the FBI agents tell Paula how much money Frank has stolen, she reaches for a pack of Kent cigarettes. The cigarette she lights has a "cork" filter. Kents had a white filter.

Factual Mistake
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.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Carl confronts Frank in France, just after he yells "They're going to kill you!" his mouth moves after that, but you don't hear anything.

Character Error
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.

Character Error
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.

Character Error
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.

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.

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.

Frank Abagnale 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.

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?

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.

The map of Europe Hanratty uses to figure out Abagnale's location is from post-1990: Germany is unified, and Yugoslavia is divided into The Balkans.

During one of the Christmas telephone conversations between Frank and Carl, Frank's phone has a modular telephone jack connection.

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.

When Frank first walks into the classroom where he impersonates the substitute teacher, one of the students is heard to use the word "frickin'", a word not coined yet in the 1960s.
The real Frank W. Abagnale Jr made a cameo appearance in this movie, as the police officer who arrests Leonardo DiCaprio in France; he is the man in the coat and hat who pins Leonardo against the police car.

Steven Spielberg's son, Max made a cameo appearance in this movie, as the young man sitting behind Leonardo DiCaprio during both parts of the airplane scene.

Until he saw the results of Leonardo DiCaprio's work, the real Frank Abagnale Jr. didn't think DiCaprio was "suave" enough to play him.

When Frank begins recruiting decoy flight attendants; when announcing the girls picked he announces the actresses by real name.

The FBI officer who was chasing Frank, and was the main inspiration for "Carl Hanratty," was really Joe Shea. Frank Abagnale Jr. used the pseudonym "Sean O'Reilly" in his book because Joe Shea was still in the F. B. I. He has since passed away.

It took just 52 days for this movie to be filmed in its entirety.

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 Hallström were asked to direct before Steven Spielberg, who only wanted to produce the movie, took over.

During the shooting for this movie the production made use of around 157 locations throughout North America.

According to costume designer Mary Zophres, there were about 130 'day-players' (bit part actors) and 3,000-4,000 background extras employed, and Leonardo DiCaprio had 100 costume changes, through the film.

The first cut of this film was about 80% authentic, as quoted at the epilogue of Abagnale's book. Some scenes were corrected, added and changed as per request of the real Frank Abagnale Jr. to ensure total authenticity.

Steven Spielberg's original choice for the role of Frank Abagnale Jr. was Johnny Depp.

The blackboard that Carl Hanratty is writing on toward the end of the movie contains a small note at the bottom that says, "Steven and Tom's 4th project". Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, had previously collaborated on Band of Brothers (2001) , Saving Private Ryan (1998) and Joe Versus the Volcano (1990).

The opening title sequence is created by the duo Olivier Kuntzel + Florence Deygas. The "stamp style animation" lasts roughly 2 minutes 30 seconds and features silhouettes of the main characters acting out the plot of the film, even down to the smallest details. In a interview, Kuntzel + Deygas described they created this sequence by "stylistically transposing the handmade design of Saul Bass using decidedly modern means" and required that actual rubber stamps be carved out for each character featured.

The story of Frank Abagnale Jr.'s exploits had one of the longest and most difficult journeys from its first pitch to its eventual production. In 1981 it was originally announced that his story would be filmed and that Frank would be played by Dustin Hoffman.

The names on the forged diploma from Harvard Medical School actually contains the signatures of the then (2002) deans of both Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine.

Mrs. Abagnale's house after she remarried was the same house used for Father of the Bride (1991) and Father of the Bride Part II (1995).

The Aston Martin DB5 that was seen in the movie was sourced by Autosport Designs, Inc. of Huntington Station, New York, a specialist exotic car dealership. Dreamworks contacted Autosport Designs and asked if they could supply a silver DB5. However they did not have one in stock and instead contacted a customer and arranged for his car to be used. The car is the same make and model used in the movie Goldfinger (1964), one of Steven Spielberg's personal favorite films.

All road and concrete surfaces are wet in every shot, even though all scenes take place in sunny weather. Many cinematographers simply prefer the look of wet roads.

The arrest scene in France was actually shot in Place Royale, Quebec City. The church in the background is called Notre-Dame-des-Victoires and the bust in the middle of the place is of Louis XIV.

Cans and reels were shipped to cinemas under the code name "The Doctor".

17-year-old Frank tells Brenda he's 28 years old, which was Leonardo DiCaprio's true age when this movie premiered in 2002.

This movie shows Frank Abagnale Jr. on the FBI's Most Wanted list. In real life, however, he never made the list - it's reserved for violent criminals.

Jennifer Garner shot her scenes in one day.

When Abagnale gets his suit tailored to resemble James Bond, he signs himself as Mr. Fleming. Ian Fleming was the original author of James Bond.

In a deleted scene, Frank dresses as a security guard and stands outside a bank's night deposit box, so people will give money to him instead of putting it in the box. During filming, despite the cameras, real people came up to Leonardo DiCaprio and tried to give him their money.

The exterior shots of Miami airport were filmed at the old Ontario [California] Airport terminal. The old terminal is still standing, but it was converted to office space when the new Ontario Airport opened.

According to Box Office Mojo, Catch Me If You Can is the sixth highest grossing film for Dreamworks SKG. The films above it being Shrek 2 (2004), Shrek (2001), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Madagascar (2005), and Gladiator (2000).

To get her to achieve the way he wanted her to sloppily kiss Leonardo DiCaprio, Steven Spielberg asked Amy Adams to pretend she was starving to death and eating a cheeseburger.

The scenes in the French classroom and the library were filmed at McKinley School in Pasadena, CA. During spring break, about six months after the film's release, the production crew removed all of the set pieces the school had been using, to the school administration's surprise.

This movie forms the final instalment of Steven Spielberg's unofficial "running man" trilogy, which started with A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) and continued with Minority Report (2002).