Catch Me If You Can Movie Poster Image

Catch Me If You Can



Excellent account of FBI's youngest Most Wanted.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Review Date: May 18, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 141 minutes

What parents need to know


Tense situations and chases.


Sexual situations, prostitute.


Brief strong language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking and smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there is some mature material, including the fact that the main character is a con man who never considers the impact that his lies and scams may have or the risks he is taking. It includes some non-explicit sexual situations and a negotiation with a call girl. A character says that her parents refuse to see her following her out of wedlock pregnancy and abortion. Characters drink and smoke and use strong language. The scene where Frank's parents tell him they are getting a divorce may be upsetting to some.

What's the story?

Frank Abagnale, Jr. ( Leonardo DiCaprio) adores his parents. His father (Christopher Walken) relies on using an angle to get what he wants and employs his teen son in his scams. But eventually he gets the family into in serious financial trouble. When Frank is 16, his parents get divorced and he is told to choose which one he will live with. He cannot handle it and he runs away. Like a child, he thinks he can recreate the perfect world he once thought he had. But he has one very un-childlike quality, an astonishing eye for detail. Combined with the charm and panache he learned from his father, the ability to appear innocent to give him apparent credibility and - just as important - youthful fearless (he just doesn't know how outrageous his scams are), he becomes one of the most successful con men in history. Before he is imprisoned in France, he manages to pass himself off as a pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer. He also manages to pass off bad checks worth over $4 million.

Is it any good?


Part period piece, part chase film, part drama, Steven Spielberg's movie about the youngest person ever to make the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List is terrifically entertaining. It is set in the candy-colored ring-a-ding 1960's where jet pilots were glamorous and even bank tellers in big cities had a small-town belief in the honesty of someone cashing a check, especially if he had a charming smile. This is the 1960's of big hair, smooth surfaces, and bikinis, fueled by martini music like Sinatra's "Come Fly with Me."

Every single element of this movie works brilliantly together and the result is as irresistible as its con man hero. The screenplay by Jeff Nathanson (based on Abagnale's book) is excellent, as crafty as its subject and with just the right touch of heart. Tom Hanks, as the FBI agent who chases, admires, and ultimately inspires Frank, makes each moment on screen a small masterpiece. DiCaprio captures us from his first moment as an awkward 13-year-old to his sheer pleasure in his own ability to master the adult world.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the different ways Frank and Hanratty felt about each other at different times. How were Frank Sr. and Hanratty like opposing father figures in Frank's life? What did he hope for in the relationship with Brenda?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 25, 2002
DVD release date:May 6, 2003
Cast:Christopher Walken, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks
Director:Steven Spielberg
Run time:141 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some sexual content and brief language

This review of Catch Me If You Can was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bybpurcell April 9, 2008

Great movie-something you can enjoy without concentrating!

The movie was great because of the humor (he was constantly changing roles: one minute he said he was an airline pilot, the next he was a doctor: it was hillarious!) The plot was not too confusing, so you didn't have to stop and figure out what was going on. But, it was not a really weak, obvious plot. My one-word description is: AMAZING! Plus, the two stars, Leonardo DiCaprio (who was really hot!) and Tom Hanks were great for their roles, Leonardo a young, counterfeitting, liar; Tom a suspicious FBI agent. Awesome movie!
Teen, 13 years old Written byperfectionist December 19, 2009

one of my favorite movies.

If I was one of those famous movie reviewers I would say "Two Thumbs Way Up!" This movie is amazing. Some of the stuff in it may be too inappropriate for kids. But this is an outstanding movie
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Adult Written bytomp April 9, 2008


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?