Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio is a dream pairing for any director, and Steven Spielberg had the pleasure of working with them both in leading roles on his classic crime drama Catch Me If You Can. Based on a thrilling true story, Catch Me If You Can follows Tom Hanks‘ FBI agent tracking down Leonardo DiCaprio‘s young con artist: it’s wildly entertaining, and one of the trio’s best movies.
The details of the movie, and of the true story behind it, are almost unbelievable as DiCaprio’s Frank Abergnale Jr. abandons his home in order to trick his way into various high-skilled professions: pilot, lawyer, and doctor. Meanwhile, he becomes rich beyond the boundaries of his imagination by cashing fraudulent checks, which brings him to the attention of the FBI and Hanks’ character Carl Hanratty.
What ensues is a charming, funny, and emotional story, and Catch Me If You Can easily cemented itself among the best drama movies of the 2000s. It’s an absolute classic. And, it also happens to feature one of the greatest movie cameos ever, too.
During a key scene toward the end of the movie, DiCaprio’s Abergnale is eventually arrested in a small town in France after giving up the chase. He’s escorted out of a building by Hanks’ Hanratty, before being forcefully shoved into a police car by the French authorities. The French police officer who takes the young Frank Abergnale from Hanratty and escorts him to the car is played by none other than the real Frank Abergnale Jr. in a fantastic little cameo.
What makes it so great is that no attention is drawn to it, and like in real life Abergnale blends in and goes unnoticed where he’s least expected. He’s one of the few people who can say that he’s arrested a fictional version of himself, and played by DiCaprio no less. It’s a very clever nod from Spielberg, to eagle-eyed audience members.
Following on from the release of Catch Me If You Can the real Abergnale, who would go on to have a career in the FBI after his stint in prison, stated his approval for the film, and said that he was blown away when Spielberg sat down to show him the movie.
Spielberg’s film does take a lot of creative liberties (and there has been some doubt over the veracity of Abergnale’s story as he tells it in his memoir) but in a movie as clever and entertaining as Catch Me If You Can, that’s all secondary.
For more on Hanks, DiCaprio, and Spielberg see our picks for the best Tom Hanks movies and best Steven Spielberg movies, before learning about DiCaprio’s new movie with the Killers of the Flower Moon release date. If you can’t get enough of Catch Me If You Can, find out how Hanks “invited himself” to join the cast.