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The Movie Like Catch Me If You Can That Crime Comedy Fans Need To See

One of Stephen Spielberg's breeziest, most stylish movies is the 2002 crime drama "Catch Me If You Can." The film, which is based on a true story, stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abagnale Jr., a prolific con artist who was one of the best check forgers in American history. He posed as a Pan Am pilot, a doctor, a lawyer, and numerous other fraudulent professionals despite being a teenager. He stayed one step ahead of the FBI for years. The Bureau is represented in the film by Abagnale's dogged pursuer Carl Hanratty, a composite character FBI agent played by Tom Hanks.

It's one of DiCaprio's best early career performances, a heaping helping of charm on top of some deep vulnerability. But mostly he — and the movie itself — are a lot of fun. There are delightful setpieces like the scene in which Abagnale gets out of being captured by Hanratty by thinking quickly and posing as a Secret Service agent who happens to have the name as a superhero's alter ego. The film is set in the '60s, and it has great period details in its costuming and set design. 

It's the kind of movie you wish more movies were like. And if you want to watch another movie that feels kind of like "Catch Me If You Can," we have a recommendation for you.

If you like Catch Me If You Can, check out American Made

Director Doug Liman's "American Made" tells the very-loosely-based-on-a-true-story tale of Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), a Louisiana good ol' boy and commercial airline pilot who was recruited by CIA agent Monty Schafer (Domhnall Gleeson) to work as a courier for payments from the Agency to Panamanian government and military leader Manuel Noriega. This gig in turn leads to him being recruited by the Medellin cartel to traffic cocaine back to America. The CIA turns a blind eye to Seal's money-making operation, until it gets so big that they can't anymore. Then the problems really start.

The film has a lot of DNA in common with "Catch Me If You Can." They're both period pieces about charismatic ne'er-do-wells who carried out elaborate scams. Frank Abagnale Jr. and Barry Seal both had ties to American intelligence agencies — Abagnale eventually worked as a forgery consultant for the FBI, and Seal obviously worked for the CIA. They even both worked (or pretended to work) for iconic, defunct airlines, Abagnale for Pan Am and Seal for TWA. Beyond that, they have similarly propulsive, highly energetic crime caper vibes. They're a lot of fun to watch. A devil-may-care sense of reckless adventure is the most important part of both movies, in which the criminal is having a good time getting away with his schemes, and we the viewers are, too. These guys are scoundrels, but we like hanging out with them.

"American Made" isn't currently available on any subscription streaming services, but it can be rented on Amazon, Vudu, YouTube, or whatever on-demand service you prefer.