Catch Me If You Can (2002): Spielberg’s Briskly Light Biopic, Starring DiCaprio and Tom Hanks

One of Spielberg’s lighter feature, Catch Me If You Can is a briskly entertaining crime biopic, from a screenplay by Jeff Nathanson.

Catch Me If You Can
Catch Me If You Can 2002 movie.jpg

Theatrical release poster

The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen, and Nathalie Baye.

The tale, which unfolds like a jaunty escapade, is based on the life of Frank Abagnale, who, before turning 19, successfully performed cons worth millions of dollars by posing as a Pan American World Airways pilot, a Georgia doctor and a Louisiana parish prosecutor.

His foremost crime was check fraud; he became so highly skilled that the FBI later turned to him for help catching other check forgers.

Spielberg’s DreamWorks bought the film rights to Abagnale’s 1980 book of the same name.

Most of the tale is set in 1963, when teenager Frank Abagnale lived in New Rochelle his father Frank Abagnale Sr (Christopher Walken)., and French mother, Paula (Natalie Baye).

When Frank Sr. encounters tax problems with the IRS, he moves his family from their large home to a small apartment.

Frank is transferred to public school, and immediately gets into trouble when he begins posing as a substitute French teacher.

David Fincher, Gore Verbinski, Lasse Hallström, Miloš Forman, and Cameron Crowe were all considered to direct the film before Spielberg decided to direct it himself.

The film opened on December 25, 2002, to critical and commercial success.

DiCaprio and the real Abagnale.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abagnale, a teenager who turned into a con artist.
Tom Hanks as Carl Hanratty, an FBI agent who is based on Joseph Shea.
Christopher Walken as Frank Abagnale Sr., the father of Frank Abagnale.
Martin Sheen as Roger Strong, an attorney.
Nathalie Baye as Paula Abagnale, the French mother of Frank.
Amy Adams as Brenda Strong, a young hospital worker and the daughter of Roger.
James Brolin as Jack Barnes
Nancy Lenehan as Carol Strong, the mother of Brenda.
Thomas Kopache as Principal Evans, the principal of Frank’s school who busts him for impersonating a substitute teacher.
Candice Azzara as Darcy
Malachi Throne as Abe PennerOscar Context:

Oscar Nominations: 2

Christopher Walken and John Williams were nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Score, respectively.


Directed by Steven Spielberg
Produced by Spielberg, Walter F. Parkes

Screenplay by Jeff Nathanson, based on Catch Me If You Can by Frank Abagnale Jr.
Stan Redding
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Janusz Kamiński
Edited by Michael Kahn

Production companies: Amblin Entertainment
Parkes/MacDonald Productions
Kemp Company
Splendid Pictures

Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures

Release date: December 25, 2002

Running time: 141 minutes
Budget $52 million
Box office $352.1 million