In 1963, teen-aged Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio) lives in New Rochelle, New York along with his father Frank Abagnale, Sr. (Christopher Walken), and French mom Paula (Nathalie Baye). When Frank Sr. is denied a enterprise mortgage at Chase Manhattan Financial institution attributable to unknown difficulties with the IRS, the household is pressured to maneuver from their massive dwelling to a small residence. Paula carries on an affair with Jack (James Brolin), a buddy of her husband. In the meantime, Frank poses in its place instructor in his French class. Frank’s mother and father file for divorce, and Frank runs away. When he runs out of cash, he begins counting on confidence scams to get by. Quickly, Frank’s cons enhance and he even impersonates an airline pilot. He forges Pan Am payroll checks and succeeds in stealing over $2.eight million.
In the meantime, Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), an FBI financial institution fraud agent, begins monitoring Frank. Carl and Frank meet at a resort, the place Frank convinces Carl his identify is Barry Allen of the Secret Service, and that he was additionally after the fraud. Frank leaves, Carl angrily realizing a minute too late that he has been fooled. Later, at Christmas, Carl continues to be at work when Frank calls him, trying to apologize for duping Carl. Carl rejects his apology and tells him he’ll quickly be caught, however laughs when he realizes Frank truly known as him as a result of he has nobody else to speak to. Frank hangs up, and Carl continues to research, instantly realizing (because of a waiter) that the title “Barry Allen” is from the Flash comedian books and that Frank is definitely a teen.
Frank, in the meantime, has expanded his con to incorporate the identities of a health care provider and lawyer. Whereas taking part in Dr. Frank Conners, he falls in love with Brenda (Amy Adams). Whereas asking her father’s permission to marry her, he admits the reality about himself and asks for assist with the Louisiana State Bar examination. Carl tracks him to his engagement celebration and Frank is ready to sneak out a bed room window minutes earlier than Carl bursts in. Earlier than leaving, Frank makes Brenda promise to satisfy him in Miami two days later to allow them to elope. Frank sees her ready for him two days later, but in addition notices plainclothes brokers ready to arrest him, realizing he has been arrange and escapes on a flight to Europe.
Seven months later, Carl exhibits his boss that Frank has been forging checks throughout western Europe and asks permission to go to Europe to search for him. When his boss refuses, Carl brings Frank’s checks to printing professionals who declare that the checks had been printed in France. From an interview with Frank’s mom, Carl remembers that she was really born in Montrichard, France. He goes there and locates Frank, and tells him that the French police will kill him if he doesn’t go together with Carl quietly. Frank assumes he’s mendacity at first, however Carl guarantees Frank he would by no means deceive him, and Carl takes him exterior, the place the French police escort him to jail.
The scene then flashes ahead to a airplane returning Frank residence from jail, the place Carl informs him that his father has died. Grief-stricken, Frank escapes from the airplane and goes again to his outdated home, the place he finds his mom with the person she left his father for, in addition to a woman who Frank realizes is his half-sister. Frank offers himself up and is sentenced to 12 years in jail, getting visits now and again from Carl. When Frank factors out how one of many checks Carl is carrying as proof is faux, Carl convinces the FBI to supply Frank a deal by which he can dwell out the rest of his sentence working for the financial institution fraud division of the FBI, which Frank accepts. Whereas working on the FBI, Frank misses the joys of the chase and even makes an attempt to fly as an airline pilot once more. He’s cornered by Carl, who insists that Frank will return to the FBI job since nobody is chasing him. On the next Monday, Carl is nervous that Frank has not but arrived at work. Nevertheless, Frank ultimately arrives they usually focus on their subsequent case.
The ending credit reveal that Frank has been fortunately married for 26 years, has three sons, lives within the Midwest, continues to be good associates with Carl, has caught a number of the world’s most elusive cash forgers, and earns hundreds of thousands of dollars every year due to his work creating unforgeable checks.