Bourne (film series)

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The Bourne Trilogy DVD Cover.jpg
DVD set of The Bourne Identity (2002), The Bourne Supremacy (2004), and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007).
Directed by Doug Liman
Paul Greengrass
Tony Gilroy
Produced by Patrick Crowley
Frank Marshall
Doug Liman
Andrew R. Tennenbaum
Justin Lin
Ben Smith
Jeffrey M. Weiner
Screenplay by Tony Gilroy
William Blake Herron
Scott Z. Burns
George Nolfi
Dan Gilroy
Andrew Baldwin
Based on The Bourne Series 
by Robert Ludlum
Starring Matt Damon
Jeremy Renner
Julia Stiles
Joan Allen
Music by John Powell
James Newton Howard
Cinematography Oliver Wood
Robert Elswit
Edited by Saar Klein
Richard Pearson
Christopher Rouse
John Gilroy
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • June 14, 2002 (2002-06-14) (Bourne Identity)
  • July 23, 2004 (2004-07-23) (Bourne Supremacy)
  • August 3, 2007 (2007-08-03) (Bourne Ultimatum)
  • August 10, 2012 (2012-08-10) (Bourne Legacy)
  • July 29, 2016 (2016-07-29) (Jason Bourne)
Running time
477 minutes[1][2][3][4]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $370 million
Box office $1.221 billion

The Bourne films are a series of action spy thriller film based on the character Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), a CIA assassin suffering from extreme memory loss who must figure out who he is,[5] created by author Robert Ludlum. The Bourne Legacy 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.

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 co-wrote each film and directed The Bourne Legacy (2012).

Damon chose not to return for the fourth film. 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.[6] Damon will return for the fifth installment, Jason Bourne (2016).

The series is noted for its realism, in contrast to the growing use of computer-generated imagery in the action genre.[7]


The Bourne Identity[edit]

A man (Matt Damon) 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. 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 international 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[edit]

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 connected to one of his past missions. A subsequent attempt on his life results in Marie's death, so he decides to take revenge by hunting down those responsible for her death and his forgotten past, thinking that the CIA is hunting him again. Bourne discovers that Ward Abbott (Brian Cox), one of the men who oversaw Operation Treadstone, the program which trained Bourne to be an assassin, stole millions of dollars from the CIA. Abbott meant to implicate Bourne in the theft with the frame-up, which would have led the CIA on a wild goose chase had Bourne been killed as intended. Bourne exposes Abbott to Pamela Landy (Joan Allen), the CIA officer in charge of finding Bourne, and Abbott commits suicide. During a long car chase with Bourne, the Russian agent who was paid to kill him and was responsible for Marie's death is killed, and Bourne goes into hiding. Bourne also figures out what his real identity is.

The Bourne Ultimatum[edit]

After six weeks of disconnection from his job, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) learns that a British journalist 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 has also 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 behavioral 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[edit]

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 (Matt Damon) 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 have run 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 have actually "viraled-out" and are now genetically permanent, so he no longer needs those. He reveals to her that without the help of the mental 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 survives the possibly fatal process of "viraling-out" of his dependency of the remaining mental enhancing pills. They evade the Manila police and an operative from the new LARX program, and successfully escape from the Philippines on a junk ship.

Jason Bourne[edit]

Main article: Jason Bourne (film)

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.[8] In a December 2012 interview, Matt Damon has revealed that he and Paul Greengrass are interested in returning for the next film.[9] On November 8, 2013, Deadline reported that the fifth installment in the franchise will feature Renner's Cross, with Justin Lin directing.[10] 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.[11] In November 2014, Damon confirmed that he and Greengrass will return [12] with a script from themselves and film editor Christopher Rouse.[13] On May 23, 2015, Deadline reported that Alicia Vikander is in talks to star with Damon in the fifth film.[14] 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.[15][16] On July 28, 2015, Tommy Lee Jones was cast in a role in the fifth film.[17] On September 1, 2015, Variety reported that French actor Vincent Cassel is cast as the film's villain.[18]

Producer Frank Marshall confirmed principal photography for the new film had commenced on September 8, 2015.[19] The film itself was set to be released on July 29, 2016.[20]

Cast and characters[edit]

Character Film
The Bourne Identity The Bourne Supremacy The Bourne Ultimatum The Bourne Legacy Jason Bourne
Jason Bourne/David Webb Matt Damon (Mentioned, portrayed in photos by Matt Damon) Matt Damon
Marie Helena Kreutz Franka Potente (Flashback)
Alexander Conklin Chris Cooper (Flashback)
The Professor Clive Owen
Nicolette "Nicky" Parsons Julia Stiles Julia Stiles
Ward Abbott Brian Cox (Flashback)
Nykwanna Wombosi Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Daniel "Danny" Zorn Gabriel Mann
Pamela Landy Joan Allen
Kirill Karl Urban
Jarda Marton Csokas
Noah Vosen David Strathairn
Ezra Kramer Scott Glenn
Dr. Albert Hirsch Albert Finney
Ray Wills Corey Johnson
Tom Cronin Tom Gallop
Simon Ross Paddy Considine (Flashback)
Paz Edgar Ramirez (Flashback)
Martin Kreutz Daniel Brühl
Desh Bouksani Joey Ansah
Kiley Scott Adkins
Aaron Cross/Kenneth Kitsom Jeremy Renner
Dr. Marta Shearing Rachel Weisz
Eric Byer Edward Norton
Mark Turso Stacy Keach
Number 3 Oscar Isaac
LARX 3 Louis Ozawa Changchien
Zev Vendel Corey Stoll
Robert Dewey Tommy Lee Jones
? Alicia Vikander
? Vincent Cassel
Aaron Kalloor Riz Ahmed

Crew and other[edit]

Crew/Detail Film
The Bourne Identity The Bourne Supremacy The Bourne Ultimatum The Bourne Legacy Jason Bourne
Director Doug Liman Paul Greengrass Tony Gilroy Paul Greengrass
Producer Doug Liman, Patrick Crowley, Richard N. Gladstein Frank Marshall, Patrick Crowley, Paul L. Sandberg Frank Marshall, Patrick Crowley, Jeffrey M. Weiner, Ben Smith  
Editor Saar Klein Christopher Rouse
Rick Pearson
Christopher Rouse John Gilroy  
Director of
Oliver Wood Robert Elswit Barry Ackroyd
Music John Powell James Newton Howard  
Writer Screenplay:
Tony Gilroy
William Blake Herron
Based on:
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
Tony Gilroy
Based on:
The Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum
Tony Gilroy
Scott Z. Burns
George Nolfi
Based on:
The Bourne Ultimatum by Robert Ludlum
Tony Gilroy
Dan Gilroy
Tony Gilroy
Based on:
Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Paul Greengrass
Matt Damon
Christopher Rouse
Based on:
Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Distributor Universal Pictures
Release date June 14, 2002 July 23, 2004 August 3, 2007 August 10, 2012 July 29, 2016
Running time 118 minutes 108 minutes 116 minutes 135 minutes  


The Bourne series was met with both critical and commercial success. Ultimatum won three Academy Awards: Best Film Editing, Sound, and Best Sound Editing.[21] Both Supremacy and Ultimatum won the Empire Award for Best Film.[22][23]

Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office revenue Box office ranking Budget
Opening weekend
North America
North America Other territories Worldwide All time
North America
All time
The Bourne Identity June 14, 2002 $27,118,640 $121,661,683 $92,372,541 $214,034,224 #368 #459 $60 [24]
The Bourne Supremacy July 23, 2004 $52,521,865 $176,241,941 $112,258,276 $288,500,217 #173 #302 $75 [25]
The Bourne Ultimatum August 3, 2007 $69,283,690 $227,471,070 $215,353,068 $442,824,138 #92 #136 $110 [26]
The Bourne Legacy August 10, 2012 $38,142,825 $113,203,870 $162,940,880 $276,144,750 #417 #316 $125 [27]
Jason Bourne July 29, 2016 TBD
Total $638,578,564 $582,924,765 $1,221,503,329 $370 [28][29]
Average $159.6 million $145.7 million $305.4 million

Critical reception[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore Ref(s)
The Bourne Identity 83% (184 reviews) 68 (38 reviews) A- [30][31][32]
The Bourne Supremacy 81% (188 reviews) 73 (39 reviews) A- [33][34][32]
The Bourne Ultimatum 93% (257 reviews) 85 (38 reviews) A [35][36][32]
The Bourne Legacy 55% (215 reviews) 61 (42 reviews) B [37][38][32]


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.[39] 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.[40] Production was difficult, with screenplay rewrites occurring throughout the entire filming and Liman constantly arguing with Universal's executives.[41] The Bourne Identity was released in June 2002.

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.[42][43] The Bourne Identity features brands such as The Guardian newspaper, BT Tower in London and Tag Heuer watches.[42] The Bourne Supremacy features mobile phones made by Sony Ericsson.[44] The Bourne Ultimatum features a total of 54 brands including The Guardian and BT for the second time;[45][46] 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;[44][46] cars made by BMW, Ford, Mercedes, and Volkswagen, most prominently the Volkswagen Touareg 2, as Volkswagen provided $25 million in funding;[45][46][47] and technology products such as CTX computer monitors, Norton AntiVirus and the Google web search engine.[46]


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 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".[48]

The song "Extreme Ways" by musician Moby is used as the end title theme of all four films.


  1. ^ "THE BOURNE IDENTITY (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. June 24, 2002. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  2. ^ "THE BOURNE SUPREMACY (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. July 21, 2004. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  3. ^ "THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. July 26, 2007. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  4. ^ "THE BOURNE LEGACY (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. July 23, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  5. ^ Bruce Bennett (May 28, 2008). "Jason Bourne Takes His Case to MoMA". New York Sun. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  6. ^ Horn, John (August 3, 2012). "The intricate birth of 'The Bourne Legacy'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  7. ^ Gregory Kirschling (July 20, 2007). "The Bourne Ultimatum". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 11, 2012. 
  8. ^ Universal Pictures say they will make more Bourne films: BBC News
  9. ^ "Matt Damon: Door is still open for some more 'Bourne'". MSN. 
  10. ^ ‘Fast & Furious’ Helmer Justin Lin To Direct Next ‘Bourne’ Installment
  11. ^ "Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass Returning for Bourne 5!". Coming September 15, 2014. Retrieved September 15, 2014. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Untitled BOURNE Sequel Set for July 29, 2016; Paul Greengrass, Matt Damon, and Christopher Rouse to Write the Script". January 5, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  14. ^ Fleming, Jr, Mike; Jaafar, Ali (May 22, 2015). "Hot Cannes 'Circle' Package Imperiled As Alicia Vikander In Talks To Star In 'Assassin's Creed', New 'Bourne' Film". Deadline. 
  15. ^ Kroll, Justin (June 19, 2015). "Julia Stiles to Reteam With Matt Damon in Next ‘Bourne Identity’ Film". Variety. 
  16. ^ Fleming, Jr, Mike (June 23, 2015). "Alicia Vikander Confirmed For Bourne Sequel Opposite Matt Damon". Deadline. 
  17. ^ Kroll, Justin (July 28, 2015). "'Bourne': Tommy Lee Jones Joins Matt Damon in Sequel (Exclusive)". Variety. 
  18. ^ Kroll, Justin (September 1, 2015). "'Bourne': Vincent Cassel to Play Villain Opposite Matt Damon (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. 
  19. ^ LeDoctor (8 September 2015). "First day of principal photography complete and happy to report, BOURNE is back! #Bourne2016" (Tweet). 
  20. ^ Nededog, Jethro (June 18, 2014). "Next 'Bourne' Movie Delayed Until 2016". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 18, 2014. 
  21. ^ "80th Academy Awards Winners". Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  22. ^ "Empire Awards 2005". Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  23. ^ "Empire Awards 2008". Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  24. ^ "The Bourne Identity (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Box Office Mojo, LLC. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
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  26. ^ "The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Box Office Mojo, LLC. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  27. ^ "The Bourne Legacy (2012)". Box Office Mojo. Box Office Mojo, LLC. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  28. ^ "Bourne Showdown". Retrieved February 21, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Bourne Franchise". Retrieved February 21, 2015. 
  30. ^ "The Bourne Identity". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  31. ^ "The Bourne Identity". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  32. ^ a b c d "Cinemascore". Retrieved February 21, 2015. 
  33. ^ "The Bourne Supremacy". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  34. ^ "The Bourne Supremacy". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  35. ^ "The Bourne Ultimatum". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  36. ^ "The Bourne Ultimatum". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  37. ^ "The Bourne Legacy". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  38. ^ "The Bourne Legacy". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved 2012-08-14. 
  39. ^ The Bourne Identity DVD Commentary Featuring Doug Liman (2003).
  40. ^ Hanrahan, Denise. "Interview with Doug Liman". Retrieved March 14, 2007. 
  41. ^ King, Tom. "Bourne to be Wild". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 12, 2007. 
  42. ^ a b Allen, Lisa (13–19 August 2009). "Licensed to sell". Business Review Weekly. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  43. ^ Neff, John (12 August 2007). "The Bourne Ultimatum: Product placement done right". Archived from the original on 16 July 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  44. ^ a b MacLeod, Ewan (16 August 2007). "The Bourne Ultimatum’s baddies have Nokia N93i handsets". Archived from the original on 16 July 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  45. ^ a b Mangan, John (6 January 2008). "Treasure chest of promotion". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 16 July 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  46. ^ a b c d Hannaford, Katherine (16 August 2007). "13 tech-related product placements in The Bourne Ultimatum". Archived from the original on 16 July 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  47. ^ Edelstein, David (3 August 2007). "See Sickness". New York. Archived from the original on 16 July 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  48. ^ Walker, Tim (1 June 2014). "John Powell interview: 'I sold myself to the Devil, just a bit'". The Independent. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 

External links[edit]