When Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg team up on a project, you can guarantee that something special is on the way, with the notable exception of fluffy and forgettable dramatic comedy The Terminal, which is still one of the most overlooked entries in either man’s filmography. Ignoring the airport dramedy, they’ve collaborated on four critically acclaimed movies and two of the greatest TV shows of the modern era, which is pretty good going.
Of course, World War II has proved very fertile ground for Hanks and Spielberg, who were two of the main creative driving forces behind Band of Brothers and The Pacific, while Saving Private Ryan raked in over $480 million at the box office and saw the bearded one scoop his second Academy Award for Best Director, while their two most recent period pieces Bridge of Spies and The Post were both nominated for Best Picture.
However, in terms of sheer entertainment value, the finest Hanks/Spielberg adventure is arguably Catch Me If You Can, which sees the filmmaker in perhaps the most playful form of his career as he turns the incredible true story of Frank Abagnale Jr. into a breezy caper that pits two A-list movie stars against each other on opposite sides of the law and has a whole lot of fun doing so.
Hanks’ Carl Hanratty is the straight man to Leonardo DiCaprio’s charismatic turn as the wily con artist, and it remains one of Spielberg’s most underrated efforts that doesn’t get talked about nearly as often as his laundry list of established classics. Luckily, though, Catch Me If You Can is coming to Netflix this week on January 1st, where it stands a great chance of finding an entirely new audience.