|Based on||The Bourne Series|
by Robert Ludlum
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$1.637 billion|
The Bourne franchise consists of action-thriller installments based on the character Jason Bourne, created by author Robert Ludlum. The franchise includes five films and a spin-off television series. The overall plot centers around Jason Bourne, a CIA assassin suffering from dissociative amnesia, portrayed by Matt Damon.
All three of Ludlum's novels were adapted for the screen, featuring Matt Damon as the title character in each. Doug Liman directed The Bourne Identity (2002) and Paul Greengrass directed The Bourne Supremacy (2004), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), and Jason Bourne (2016). Tony Gilroy wrote or co-wrote each film except for Jason Bourne and directed The Bourne Legacy (2012).
Damon chose not to return for the fourth film, The Bourne Legacy, which introduces a new main character, Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), a Department of Defense operative who runs for his life because of Bourne's actions in Ultimatum. The character of Jason Bourne does not appear in Legacy, but mention of his name and pictures of Damon as Bourne are shown throughout the film. Damon returned for the fifth installment, Jason Bourne, an original story not based on the books.
The Bourne series has received generally positive critical reception and grossed over US$1.6 billion. Notoriously, the franchise is also famous for establishing post-9/11 gritty realism tone, heavy use of shaky cam cinematography and frenetic editing techniques (abetted by Greengrass' style) in modern filmmaking, most of which influenced action films around the late 2000s to the early 2010s.
|Film||U.S. release date||Director||Screenwriter(s)||Story by||Producer(s)|
|The Bourne Identity||June 14, 2002||Doug Liman||Tony Gilroy & William Blake Herron||Doug Liman, Patrick Crowley & Richard N. Gladstein|
|The Bourne Supremacy||July 23, 2004||Paul Greengrass||Tony Gilroy||Frank Marshall, Patrick Crowley & Paul L. Sandberg|
|The Bourne Ultimatum||August 3, 2007||Tony Gilroy, George Nolfi & Scott Z. Burns||Tony Gilroy|
|The Bourne Legacy||August 10, 2012||Tony Gilroy||Dan Gilroy & Tony Gilroy||Ben Smith, Frank Marshall, Patrick Crowley & Jeffrey M. Weiner|
|Jason Bourne||July 29, 2016||Paul Greengrass||Paul Greengrass & Christopher Rouse||Ben Smith, Matt Damon, Frank Marshall, Paul Greengrass, Gregory Goodman & Jeffrey M. Weiner|
The Bourne Identity (2002)
A man is found floating in the Mediterranean Sea with two gunshot wounds in his back and a device with the number of a Swiss safe deposit box embedded in his hip. He remembers nothing about his life before. Upon reaching shore, the man assumes the name Jason Bourne after finding a passport under that name in the safe deposit box, along with other alien passports, large amounts of assorted currencies, and a gun. He subsequently attempts to discover his true identity while countering attempts on his life by CIA assassins, eventually realizing that he is one such assassin who failed to complete his most recent mission. Bourne breaks his connections to the CIA and unites with Marie Kreutz (Franka Potente), a woman who helped him learn about his most recent actions prior to his memory loss. Bourne's conflict with the CIA reaches a climax when he takes the fight to their doorstep.
The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
Some two years after learning that he is a trained assassin and breaking his connections with the CIA, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is framed for a crime to cover up the true perpetrator. An attempt on his life by Kirill (Karl Urban), a member of the Russian secret service, results in Marie's (Franka Potente) death in India. Bourne, thinking that the CIA is hunting him again, proceeds to hunt those responsible for her death and his forgotten past. Bourne discovers that Ward Abbott (Brian Cox), one of the men who oversaw the program which trained Bourne to be an assassin (Operation Treadstone), had stolen millions of dollars from the CIA. Abbott had planned to frame Bourne for the theft, followed by assassinating Bourne in India. Bourne exposes Abbott to Pamela Landy (Joan Allen), the CIA officer in charge of finding Bourne. Abbott kills himself. Bourne goes to Moscow where he is identified, resulting in a long car chase through Moscow. At the end of the chase, Kirill dies. Bourne is in Moscow to find the daughter of a Russian couple killed in his first mission. He lets her know (in person) that, despite what she had been led to believe for a long time, one of her parents did not kill the other and then commit suicide, but that they were actually both murdered. Bourne then goes back into hiding.
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
After six weeks of disconnection from his job, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) learns that a British journalist (Paddy Considine) has been investigating his past and contacts him to find out who his source is. Bourne is subsequently targeted by Operation Blackbriar, an upgraded Operation Treadstone, which also has taken note of the investigation. Believing that Bourne is a threat and is seeking revenge, Blackbriar's director Noah Vosen (David Strathairn) begins a new hunt for Bourne. Bourne manages to take classified documents proving that Blackbriar has targeted U.S. citizens; he is aided by Pamela Landy, who disagreed with Vosen from the beginning and does not support Blackbriar's existence, and former Treadstone logistics technician Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles). She may have had romantic feelings for Bourne before his final mission and resultant amnesia. Bourne finally comes face to face with the person who oversaw his behavior modification as the first Treadstone operative some years earlier, memories of which resurface. Those responsible for Treadstone and Blackbriar are exposed, and Bourne goes underground.
The Bourne Legacy (2012)
Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) is a member of Operation Outcome, a United States Department of Defense black ops program which enhances the physical and mental abilities of field operatives through pills referred to as "chems". Cross, deployed to Alaska for a training assignment, traverses rugged terrain to reach a cabin operated by an exiled Outcome operative. Meanwhile, Jason Bourne has exposed the Blackbriar and Treadstone programs in public, leading the FBI and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to investigate those involved. Retired Air Force Colonel Eric Byer (Edward Norton), who is responsible for overseeing the Beta program from which the CIA's Treadstone and Blackbriar were developed, decides to end Outcome and kill its agents. Cross manages to survive several attempts on his life and seeks a way to get more chems, as his supply runs out. Cross eventually comes upon Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), his last link to gain more chems. He discovers she has no pills but that his physical enhancements can be "viraled-out" and can become genetically permanent, so he would no longer need physical chems. He, in turn, reveals to her that without the help of the mental chem enhancements, he possesses a well-below average IQ. To avoid this mental regression, and the operatives hunting them, the two travel to a factory in Manila and with Shearing's help, Cross initiates and survives the potentially fatal process of viraling-out of his dependency on the remaining mental-enhancing pills. Cross and Shearing, now fugitives, evade the Manila police as well as an operative from the new LARX program. The film ends showing they successfully escape from the Philippines as passengers on an old trading ship.
Jason Bourne (2016)
Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), whom Bourne sent into hiding in The Bourne Ultimatum, gains access to sensitive CIA files. She contacts Bourne to share information about his past, including how he was recruited for Operation Treadstone and his father's role in that operation. Bourne learns that his father, Richard Webb (Gregg Henry), designed Operation Treadstone and was assassinated by the CIA because he did not want his son to enter the program and become a killer. CIA director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) hunts down Parsons and Bourne using a foreign asset (Vincent Cassel) and the technical skills of CIA Cyber Ops Division head Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander), while Bourne plans to avenge his father's death. Bourne first tries to make the man who recruited him into the CIA confirm his understanding of his father's death. He then plans to avenge himself against Dewey. Meanwhile, Lee wants to bring Bourne back into the CIA's special operations and Dewey allows her to believe she has his support even though he plans to eliminate Bourne.
There is a subplot involving Operation Iron Hand, a surveillance program that will have secret access to a giant social media service called Deep Dream. In the past the CIA and Deep Dream have had a contract to work together, but Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed), its founder and CEO, wants to end this cooperation. When Dewey refuses to allow any such change, Kalloor plans to reveal his relationship with the CIA and its plans to violate the privacy expectations of Deep Dream's millions of users. Dewey plans to assassinate Kalloor before his planned revelations.
In November 2016, producer Frank Marshall acknowledged that Universal Pictures is optimistic regarding a Jason Bourne sequel. In the same interview, he reported that a follow-up installment to The Bourne Legacy is unlikely although the studio has not ruled it out. In March 2017, franchise star Matt Damon cast doubt upon a sequel stating that the audience "might be done" with the character.
By October 2019, Ben Smith—who has served as a producer on the franchise—confirmed that a film is currently in development. Though he would not detail the plot, nor the studio's plans, he confirmed that the sequel will tie into the Treadstone television series. In November 2023, it was announced that a sixth film was officially in development. The studio entered negotiations for Damon to reprise the titular role, while the alternative option is for a different character to lead the cast (similar to The Bourne Legacy). Edward Berger will serve as director.
|Series||Seasons||Episodes||First released||Last released||Showrunner(s)||Network(s)|
|Treadstone||1||10||September 24, 2019||December 17, 2019||Tim Kring||USA Network|
In April 2018, USA Network ordered a pilot for a series titled Treadstone, which was written by Tim Kring. The series explores the origins of the Treadstone program and its sleeper agents associated with the agency. By August of the same year, it was announced Treadstone will bypass the pilot stage in favor of a straight-to-series commitment from the network. In October 2019, producer Ben Smith confirmed that the television series has ties to the films, with the show having connection to a future Bourne movie. The series aired for one season before being cancelled in May 2020.
Cast and characters
This section includes characters who will appear or have appeared in the series.
- An empty, dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film, or that the character's official presence has not yet been confirmed.
- A indicates an appearance through archival footage or audio.
- V indicates a voice-only role.
- Y indicates a younger version of the character.
|The Bourne Identity||The Bourne Supremacy||The Bourne Ultimatum||The Bourne Legacy||Jason Bourne||Treadstone|
|Matt Damon||Matt DamonA||Matt Damon|
|Marie Helena Kreutz||Franka Potente||Franka PotenteA|
|Nicolette "Nicky" Parsons||Julia Stiles||Julia StilesA||Julia Stiles|
|Ward Abbott||Brian Cox||Brian CoxAV|
|Daniel "Danny" Zorn||Gabriel Mann|
|Alexander Conklin||Chris Cooper|
|The Professor||Clive Owen||Clive OwenA|
|Nykwanna Wombosi||Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje||Adewale Akinnuoye-AgbajeA|
|Pamela Landy||Joan Allen|
|Tom Cronin||Tom Gallop|
|Martin "Marty" Marshall||Tomas Arana|
|Dr. Albert Hirsch||Albert Finney||Albert FinneyA|
|Noah Vosen||David Strathairn|
|Ezra Kramer||Scott Glenn|
|Ray Wills||Corey Johnson|
|Simon Ross||Paddy Considine||Paddy ConsidineA|
|Paz||Edgar Ramirez||Edgar RamirezA|
|Desh Bouksani||Joey Ansah||Joey AnsahA|
|Martin Kreutz||Daniel Brühl|
|Aaron Cross||Jeremy Renner|
|Dr. Marta Shearing||Rachel Weisz|
|Eric Byer||Edward Norton|
|Mark Turso||Stacy Keach|
|Outcome #3||Oscar Isaac|
|LARX 3||Louis Ozawa Changchien|
|Zev Vendel||Corey Stoll|
|Robert Dewey||Tommy Lee Jones|
|Heather Lee||Alicia Vikander|
|Aaron Kalloor||Riz Ahmed|
|Craig Jeffers||Ato Essandoh|
|Richard Webb||Gregg Henry|
|John Randolph Bentley||Jeremy Irvine|
|Tara Coleman||Tracy Ifeachor|
|Soyun Park||Han Hyo-joo|
|Matt Edwards||Omar Metwally|
|Doug McKenna||Brian J. Smith|
|Petra Andropov||Gabrielle Scharnitzky|
|Ellen Becker||Michelle Forbes|
Crew and other
|The Bourne Identity||The Bourne Supremacy||The Bourne Ultimatum||The Bourne Legacy||Jason Bourne|
|Director||Doug Liman||Paul Greengrass||Tony Gilroy||Paul Greengrass|
Richard N. Gladstein
Paul L. Sandberg
Jeffrey M. Weiner
Jeffrey M. Weiner
|Editor(s)||Saar Klein||Rick Pearson
|Christopher Rouse||John Gilroy||Christopher Rouse|
|Director of photography||Oliver Wood||Robert Elswit||Barry Ackroyd|
|Composer(s)||John Powell||James Newton Howard||John Powell|
William Blake Herron
The Bourne Identity by
The Bourne Supremacy by
Scott Z. Burns
The Bourne Ultimatum by
The Bourne Legacy by
Eric Van Lustbader
Bourne series by
|Release date||June 14, 2002||July 23, 2004||August 3, 2007||August 10, 2012||July 29, 2016|
|Running time||118 min||108 min||116 min||135 min||123 min|
Director Doug Liman stated that he had been a fan of The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum since he read it in high school. Near the end of production of Liman's previous film Swingers, Liman decided to develop a film adaptation of the novel. After more than two years of securing rights to the book from Warner Brothers and a further year of screenplay development with screenwriter Tony Gilroy, the film went through two years of production. Liman approached a wide range of actors for the role of Bourne, including Russell Crowe and Sylvester Stallone, before he eventually cast Matt Damon. Liman found that Damon understood and appreciated that, though The Bourne Identity would have its share of action, the focus was primarily on character and plot. Production was difficult, with screenplay rewrites occurring throughout the entire filming and Liman constantly arguing with Universal's executives. The Bourne Identity was released in June 2002.
Universal confirmed at a media conference in Los Angeles, California, that they have plans to release more Bourne films, despite Legacy being given mixed reviews by critics. In a December 2012 interview, Matt Damon revealed that he and Paul Greengrass are interested in returning for the next film. On November 8, 2013, Deadline reported that the fifth installment in the franchise will feature Renner's Cross, with Justin Lin directing. Andrew Baldwin was attached for the film's screenplay writing. On September 15, 2014, it was announced that Damon and Greengrass will indeed return for the next Bourne film, taking the release date, with Renner returning as Cross in a separate film, at a later date. In November 2014, Damon confirmed that he and Greengrass would return with a script from themselves and film editor Christopher Rouse. On May 23, 2015, Deadline reported that Alicia Vikander is in talks to star with Damon in the fifth film. In June 2015, Variety reported that Stiles will reprise her role as Nicky Parsons and Viggo Mortensen is in talks to appear in the film as an assassin who's tracking down Bourne. Deadline reported that Vikander is confirmed to appear in the film. On July 28, 2015, Tommy Lee Jones was cast in a role in the fifth film. On September 1, 2015, Variety reported that French actor Vincent Cassel is cast as the film's villain.
Producer Frank Marshall confirmed principal photography for the new film had commenced on September 8, 2015. The film itself was released in the UK on July 27, 2016 and in the U.S. on July 29, 2016.
The films have been noted for their "well placed", "understated" and "tastefully done" product placement of a "diverse" range of brands, which in the case of the third film, earned the producers tens of millions of dollars. The Bourne Identity features brands such as The Guardian newspaper, BT Tower in London and Tag Heuer watches. The Bourne Supremacy features mobile phones made by Sony Ericsson. The Bourne Ultimatum features a total of 54 brands including The Guardian and BT for the second time; mobile phones made by Motorola, Nokia and Carphone Warehouse, most prominently the RAZR 2 and SLVR, as Motorola was a major sponsor and had a movie tie-in customized phone; cars made by BMW, Ford, Mercedes, and Volkswagen, most prominently the Volkswagen Touareg 2, as Volkswagen provided $25 million in funding; and technology products such as CTX computer monitors, Norton AntiVirus and the Google web search engine.
The scores of the first three films of the series were written by English composer John Powell, with James Newton Howard scoring the fourth film, The Bourne Legacy. Powell returned, with David Buckley to compose the score of the fifth film. Powell was not the original choice as composer for The Bourne Identity—a score for the film had already been composed by Carter Burwell and recorded by an orchestra, when director Doug Liman contacted Powell to provide an alternative soundtrack as he was dissatisfied with the music. Partly for budgetary reasons, Powell scaled down the orchestral score to a mostly electronic soundtrack with strings overlaid to give it a "cinematic feel".
The Bourne series has received both critical and commercial success. Ultimatum won three Academy Awards: Best Film Editing, Sound and Best Sound Editing. Both Supremacy and Ultimatum won the Empire Award for Best Film.
Box office performance
|Film||Release date||Budget||Box office gross||All-time ranking||References|
|The Bourne Identity||June 14, 2002||$60 million||$121,661,683||$92,372,541||$214,034,224||537||728|||
|The Bourne Supremacy||July 23, 2004||$75-85 million||$176,241,941||$112,258,276||$288,500,217||273||505|||
|The Bourne Ultimatum||August 3, 2007||$110-130 million||$227,471,070||$215,353,068||$442,824,138||157||255|||
|The Bourne Legacy||August 10, 2012||$125 million||$113,203,870||$162,940,880||$276,144,750||604||526|||
|Jason Bourne||July 29, 2016||$120 million||$162,434,410||$253,050,504||$415,484,914||323||279|||
|The Bourne Identity||83% (190 reviews)||68 (38 reviews)||A-|
|The Bourne Supremacy||82% (195 reviews)||73 (39 reviews)||A-|
|The Bourne Ultimatum||92% (265 reviews)||85 (38 reviews)||A|
|The Bourne Legacy||56% (227 reviews)||61 (42 reviews)||B|
|Jason Bourne||54% (317 reviews)||58 (50 reviews)||A-|
Theme park attraction
A theme park attraction based on the Bourne films, The Bourne Stuntacular, opened at Universal Studios Florida on June 30, 2020. The attraction combines live actors, special effects, and cutting-edge technology to create an immersive theatre experience that simulates Bourne on a high-stakes chase. The show features stunts, fight choreography, physical set pieces, cars, and a large-scale screen. Julia Stiles reprises her role from the film series during the filmed portions of the attraction.
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