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An honest man has nothing to fear, so I'm trying my best not to be afraid.
~ Frank's most well-known quote.


Franklin "Frank" Abagnale Jr. is the protagonist of the 2002 movie Catch Me If You Can.

He is a genuinely affable, cunning and manipulative con artist.

He was portrayed in the film by Leonardo DiCaprio, who also played King Louis XIV in The Man in the Iron Mask, Calvin Candie in Django Unchained, Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby and Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street-while in the musical, he was portrayed by Aaron Tveit.

Biography

In 1963, Frank Abignale's family begins to suffer from an economic crisis which eventually leads to Frank's parents getting a divorce which also results to Frank Jr. running away. When he runs out of money, he begins relying on confidence scams to get by. Soon, Frank's cons increase and he even impersonates an airline pilot. He forges Pan Am payroll checks and succeeds in stealing over $2.8 million. Frank uses various aliases to cover him up, in this case he goes by the name "Frank Taylor".

Meanwhile, Carl Hanratty from FBI begins tracking Frank. They meet at a hotel where Frank uses the alias "Barry Allen" and convinces Carl that he is also a police looking for Frank Abagnale. When Frank leaves, Carl is about to check Frank's wallet for identification and notices that it is instead full of stickers and papers from products by various companies that Frank uses to cut out the logos and stick them on his faked pay checks.

Frank now expands his con to identify himself as both a doctor and a lawyer where he will go by the name "Frank Connors". However, since he doesn't have any experience about the two jobs, he watches movies about the subjects to learn how one should at least behave. On his way to "become" a doctor at a hospital, he meets Brenda Strong, whom he genuinly falls in love with and even decides to marry. During the wedding however, Carl and the FBI shows up and Frank confesses to Brenda his real name and that he is a fraud. However, he still doesn't want to leave Brenda and asks her to meat him at the flight station the day after. When he is about to meet Brenda at the station, he notices that she is surrounded by FBI agents all around the place waiting to arrest him. He realizes that he can't pick her up then, so he keeps driving instead and later takes a flight to Europe.

Seven months later, Carl arrives to France in order to locate Frank and tells him the French police will kill him if he don't follow Carl. Carl later pick Frank from the French prison and they are about to fly back to the US. During the flight, Carl confesses that Frank Sr. has died. This makes Frank sad enough to escape from the plane, he runs to his old house where he sees his mother and her new lover as well as a little girl who apparently is Frank's half-sister. 

When the FBI arrives to Frank one last time, Frank gives up and is sentenced to 12 years in prison but gets visits from Carl sometimes. When Frank points out how one of the checks Carl is carrying as evidence is fake, Carl convinces the FBI to offer Frank a deal by which he can live out the remainder of his sentence working for the bank fraud department at FBI, which Frank accepts.

However, Frank misses the thrill of being a con artist and even attempts to fly as an airline pilot again. He is cornered by Carl, who insists that Frank will return to the FBI job since no one is chasing him now. On the following Monday, Carl is nervous that Frank has not yet arrived at work. However, Frank eventually arrives and they discuss their next case.

Trivia

  • Despite the artistic licenses the film takes, the real Frank Abagnale Jr. enjoyed Leonardo DiCaprio's portrayal of his character.

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