Steven Spielberg is the only director in history to have seen his filmography rake in a cumulative total of over $10 billion at the box office, which is almost $4 billion ahead of his closest competition, and he’s managed to do it by frequently switching up genres. To put his success into perspective, out of the five names behind him on the all-time moneymaking list, James Cameron is the only other that hasn’t relied primarily on a single franchise.
The Russo brothers, Peter Jackson and Michael Bay trail far behind the bearded legend, and they’ve leaned heavily on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Middle-earth and Transformers to power their commercial success. Indeed, you name it and Spielberg can do it, from reinventing cinema with Jaws to delivering a gut-punching emotional drama in Schindler’s List, via the rollicking adventures of Indiana Jones and the awe-inspiring spectacle of Jurassic Park.
One of the most underrated entries in his back catalogue, though, is Catch Me If You Can, which sees the director at his breeziest and most playful as he tackles the incredible true story of conman Frank Abagnale Jr. Of course, the crime thriller wouldn’t have worked anywhere near as well without the filmmaker’s lightness of touch, turning the tale into more of a caper than the standard true-life drama it could have ended up as in lesser hands.
Bolstered by two phenomenal performances from Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, not to mention an all-timer of a John Williams score, Catch Me If You Can grabs audiences from the very beginning with a dazzlingly inventive credits sequence, before spinning a globetrotting yarn that captivated millions. The movie is now available on Netflix, and with any justice, it should crack the Top 10 most-watched list in short order.