Catch Me if You Can by John Williams available at



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Catch Me if You Can (Soundtrack)  by John Williams

"Nobody Can Catch Him"
Review by Matt Peterson


Catch Me if You Can (Soundtrack)  by John Williams

Catch Me if You Can

Catch Me if You Can by John Williams available at

Category  |   Score

Originality 8
Music Selection 9
Composition 9
CD Length 8
Track Order 6
Performance 8
Final Score 8/10



Composer John Williams
John Williams


Quick Quotes

" Me If You Can is, by no means, an uplifting score or, for that matter, a very enjoyable one. If anything, however, Williams has used this opportunity to show that his diverse talents have not escaped him over the past decade of scoring primarily adventure films with massive ensembles. True Williams enthusiasts will likely find the album very interesting; it contains several pleasing songs from the era as well. It is difficult to determine if the mainstream will be attracted to this dated sound, though. A well-written, genre-constrained score."

Christian Clemmensen - Flmtracks Reviews
Catch Me if You Can








Composed and Conducted by John Williams
Album Produced by John Williams
Performed by Dan Higgins (Sax Solos)
Released by Dreamworks Records - December 10, 2002

Throughout the years, John Williams has become one of the most highly acclaimed and famous film composers in history, producing a body of work that has ingrained itself in the public's cinematic consciousness. The variety of projects Williams has undertaken have clearly demonstrated his ability to eclipse several musical genres. Catch Me If You Can, maestro Williams' twentieth collaboration with director Steven Spielberg, is certainly a departure from his typical style. The film depicts the true story of Frank Abagnale, Jr., a young criminal whose deceptive disguises and ploys helped him illegally acquire millions of dollars in the 1960s. One of the youngest individuals to ever make the FBI's 10 most wanted list, Abagnale was the focus of a worldwide manhunt (ironically, he would later become the government's foremost expert on check forgery). Spielberg's sentimental touch is evident in this unique chase film, which is a stunning portrait of 1960s America (look for Oscar nods in both production and costume design). Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks complete the ensemble, helping to produce one of 2002's standout films.

To complete Spielberg's recreation of 1960s Americana, Williams weaves a truly unique and engaging score--the likes of which we have not seen for decades. In many ways, Catch Me If You Can brings Williams full circle, forging its way into the realm of jazz, a genre very familiar to the composer. In his early days, "Johnny" Williams (his early nickname) composed lighter, jazzy scores for many domestic comedies, such as A Guide For the Married Man. He was trained as a classical/jazz pianist, playing in jazz bands to make his way financially during his early, prefilm years. It's style is a perfect blend of traditional jazz motifs with Williams' characteristic orchestral textures; Traces of Williams' other 2002 efforts are heard, namely the driving string underscore from Minority Report. The care given to each phrase in the score is astounding--percussion, strings and brass, namely a strong sax solo, intertwine magnificently. The instruments play off each other in an amazing display of compositional finesse. The score is surprisingly complex and somewhat introspective. This Mancini-esque style was essential in creating the correct atmosphere for Spielberg's latest opus. Despite the polished quality of the score, some of its motifs and themes can become repetitive. However, this is a minor issue.

The album itself is quite lengthy, clocking in at 62:33. No soundtrack from a period film would be complete without a choice sampling of popular period music, now would it?! Catch Me If You Can is no exception. Interspersed throughout the score are five period songs, ranging from Dusty Springfield to the Chairman of the Board himself. Granted, these are all classic songs, and sound great next to Williams' score, but not in the middle of it. Frankly, these tunes serve to only break up the cohesive nature of the score. I really wish studios would learn to group the score cues and the period songs separately--I guess that's why we have programmable CD players.

Score highlights are frequent--the entire album is pretty consistent in quality. The album begins with the title track, whose jazzy, short phrases intermingled with snaps and "shhh!"s create an engaging and superb cue. Listen to how the strings playfully climb the scales at the end of the track, playing off the main theme. Set to the remarkable animated credit sequence (an homage to Saul Bass' fine work for Hitchcock, among others) in the film, the music truly comes alive. This becomes the darker, mischievous motif in the score. "The 'Float'" introduces the domestic, pastoral theme of the film. This theme reminds me of the jovial strings and staccato tones of "Jim's New Life" from Empire of the Sun. "Recollections (The Father's Theme)," and "Father and Son" brings to the forefront the expert saxophone solos heard throughout. This somber theme, which captures the sadness inherent in Frank's relationship with his Father (played well by Christopher Walken), is simple, yet powerful. Listen for motifs from Minority Report in "The Airport Scene." "Learning the Ropes" is certainly one of the best tracks on the album--it's blending of themes and motifs with lush strings and xylophones (used often) creates a great track with an interesting momentum. Devious jazz motifs return in "The Flash Comics Clue," while "Deadheading" is heavy with driving bass strings, scoring Frank's first flight in the jumpseat. The score resolves itself with Williams' recently common reprise: "Catch Me If You Can (Reprise and End Credits)" is a great musical summary of the score's main themes, ending with a new rendition of the main title. This is a fun score, which ultimately contains comparable amounts of somber and exhilarating music.

Maestro Williams creates another winner with Catch Me If You Can, proving his diversity never ends. The score is a real joy to listen to. It is a very smooth experience (aside from the interruptions of the period songs), that flows well. It saturates the listener in the feel of the period with an amazing blend of jazzy motifs and Williams' characteristic undertones. Unfortunately, some of these themes and motifs can become repetitive. Nevertheless, this is one of the year's most unique scores, and is well worth your time and money (especially if you've seen the film, and can appreciate it's historical context). Let's hope future projects will enable Williams to explore his genre-hopping abilities, further proving the notion that even after decades of writing music, no modern film composer can catch up to John Williams!

Track Listing and Ratings


Title Time


1 Catch Me If You Can 2:41  ****
2 The 'Float' 4:56  ****
3 Come Fly With Me -Frank Sinatra 3:19  ****
4 Recollections (The Father's Theme) 5:16  ****
5 The Airport Scene 2:26  ****
6 The Girl from Ipanema -Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim 5:15  ****
7 Learning the Ropes 8:44  ****
8 Father and Son 3:15  ****
9 Embraceable You -Judy Garland 2:50  ***
10 The Flash Comics Clue 1:47  ****
11 Deadheading 2:25  ****
12 The Christmas Song -Nat King Cole 3:10  ****
13 A Broken Home 4:25  ****
14 Doctor, Lawyer, Lutheran 3:12  ***
15 The Look of Love -Dusty Springfield 3:31  ***
16 Catch Me If You Can (Reprise and End Credits) 5:14  ****

Total Running Time


Catch Me if You Can by John Williams

*The Experience-O-Meter displays the track to track listening experience of this soundtrack based on the 5-Star rating given to each track.  It provides a visual depiction of the ebbs and flows of the CD's presentation of the soundtrack.


Referenced Reviews
Minority Report



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