ST. LOUIS – Steven Spielberg is one of the most accomplished movie directors in American history. There’s even a tie to St. Louis in one of his works from nearly two decades ago, but it might not be what you expect.
Spielberg directed “Catch Me If You Can,” a 2002 film starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio. The movie is based on a true story of Frank Abangale Jr., a man who federal authorities say committed fraud while posing as a pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer.
About 40 minutes into Netflix’s stream of the movie, one scene shows the FBI reviewing a map of 12 Federal Reserve bank locations around the country. St. Louis is one of 12 real-life locations with such a bank.
When the scene pans from one shot of agents at their desk to Carl Hanratty, an agent played by Hanks, the map has a glaring typo. St. Louis is spelled as “ST. LEWIS” on the map. The typo is also displayed across the middle of Missouri, even though St. Louis is in the eastern portion of the state.
After a few cutaways that lasted roughly 15 seconds, the movie returns to a different view of Hanratty and the map, which then shows a correct spelling of St. Louis, along with the other 11 locations with Federal Reserve banks.
There’s no clear indication in the movie credits and online movie reviews acknowledging that St. Louis was misspelled in the scene. However, Reddit users pointed out the typo earlier this week, which gained plenty of attention among St. Louis fans on the platform.
Some of the replies from Reddit users on the typo:
- “It’s a weirdly sloppy mistake for Spielberg to make this far into his career. There’s gotta be some intentionality.”
- “That’s just a subtle way of the movie makers showing how the FBI was inept and couldn’t catch him.”
- “It’s bizarre they put the effort into getting the FRB district boundaries and numbering somewhat correct … but whiffed so hard on city placement and spelling.”
- “I really want this to be an old map they found and decided to use because it was so wrong.”
- “In honor of Lewis and Clark.”
While the typo remains a mystery, “Catch Me If You Can” was a strongly-perceived film. Actors and crews from the movie were nominated for Golden Globe, Grammy and Academy Awards. According to Box Office Mojo, the movie also led to gross earnings of $352.1 million.