Bourne (film series)

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DVD set of The Bourne Identity (2002), The Bourne Supremacy (2004), and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007).

The Bourne films are a series of action/thriller spy films based on the character Jason Bourne, a former CIA assassin suffering from extreme memory loss,[1] created by author Robert Ludlum. All three of Ludlum's novels were adapted for the screen, featuring Matt Damon as the titular character in each. Doug Liman directed The Bourne Identity (2002), Paul Greengrass directed The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). Tony Gilroy co-wrote each film and directed The Bourne Legacy (2012). The series is noted for its realism, in contrast to the growing use of computer-generated imagery in the action genre.[2]



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.[3] 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.[4] Production was difficult, with screenplay rewrites occurring throughout the entire filming and Liman constantly arguing with Universal's executives.[5] The Bourne Identity was eventually released in June 2002.

In June 2003, Universal announced the sequel, The Bourne Supremacy, and that it would be directed by British director Paul Greengrass.[6]


The song Extreme Ways by musician Moby is played at the end of all four movies.


The Bourne Identity

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 the 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

Some two years after learning that he is a trained assassin and breaking his connections with the CIA, Jason Bourne 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 frameup, 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 agent 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.

The Bourne Ultimatum

Six weeks later, Bourne 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 and is aided by Landy, who disagreed with Vosen from the beginning and does not support Blackbriar's existence, and former Treadstone logistics technician Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), whom, it is implied, had some 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

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 is deployed to Alaska for a training assignment, crosses rugged terrain to reach a cabin operated by an exiled Outcome operative. The Blackbriar and Treadstone programs are publicly exposed, 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 CIA's clandestine operations, decides to end Outcome and kill its agents. Cross manages to survive attempts on his life and attempts to find 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. She tells him of a way to permanently enhance him and the two travel to a factory in Manila to do so. They manage to succeed and evade more attempts on their lives before escaping, making their way towards Vietnam.

Cast and characters

The Bourne IdentityThe Bourne SupremacyThe Bourne UltimatumThe Bourne Legacy
Jason Bourne/David WebbMatt Damon(Photographic Cameo/Mentioned)
Nicky ParsonsJulia Stiles
Marie Helena KreutzFranka Potente(Flashback)
Alexander ConklinChris Cooper(Flashback)
Ward AbbottBrian Cox(Flashback)
Danny ZornGabriel Mann
The ProfessorClive Owen(Flashback)
Nykwana WombosiAdewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje(Photographic Cameo)
Pamela LandyJoan Allen
Tom CroninTom Gallop
KirillKarl Urban(Mentioned)
JardaMarton Csokas
Noah VosenDavid Strathairn
Martin KreutzDaniel Brühl
Ezra KramerScott Glenn
Dr. Albert HirschAlbert Finney
Ray WillsCorey Johnson
Simon RossPaddy Considine(Flashback)
Desh BouksaniJoey Ansah
PazEdgar Ramirez(Flashback)
Aaron Cross/Kenneth KitsomJeremy Renner
Dr. Marta ShearingRachel Weisz
Eric ByerEdward Norton
Mark TursoStacy Keach
Number 3Oscar Isaac


The Bourne series was met with both critical and commercial success. Ultimatum won three Academy Awards: Best Film Editing, Sound, and Best Sound Editing.[7] Both Supremacy and Ultimatum won the Empire Award for Best Film.[8][9]

Among the fans of the Bourne films is Pixar filmmaker John Lasseter, as noted in the DVD commentary for Cars 2.[10]

Box office performance

FilmRelease dateBox office revenueBox office rankingBudgetReference
United StatesElsewhereWorldwideAll time USAll time worldwide
The Bourne IdentityJune 14, 2002$121,661,683$92,372,541$214,034,224#359#448$60,000,000[11]
The Bourne SupremacyJuly 23, 2004$176,241,941$112,258,276$288,500,217#171#297$75,000,000[12]
The Bourne UltimatumAugust 3, 2007$227,471,070$215,353,068$442,824,138#90#133$110,000,000[13]
The Bourne LegacyAugust 10, 2012$112,359,655$119,800,000$232,159,655#418#416$125,000,000[14]

Critical reaction

FilmRotten TomatoesMetacritic
OverallTop Critics
The Bourne Identity83% (183 reviews)[15]79% (38 reviews)[15]68 (38 reviews)[16]
The Bourne Supremacy81% (188 reviews)[17]75% (40 reviews)[17]73 (39 reviews)[18]
The Bourne Ultimatum94% (234 reviews)[19]98% (41 reviews)[19]85 (38 reviews)[20]
The Bourne Legacy56% (206 reviews)[21]55% (38 reviews)[21]61 (42 reviews)[22]
Average Ratings79%77%72


  1. ^ Bruce Bennett (2008-05-28). "Jason Bourne Takes His Case to MoMA". New York Sun. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  2. ^ Gregory Kirschling (July 20, 2007). "The Bourne Ultimatum". Entertainment Weekly.,,20035434,00.html. Retrieved July 11, 2012. 
  3. ^ The Bourne Identity DVD Commentary Featuring Doug Liman (2003).
  4. ^ Hanrahan, Denise. "Interview with Doug Liman". Retrieved 14 March 2007. 
  5. ^ King, Tom. "Bourne to be Wild". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 March 2007. 
  6. ^ "Bourne Again". Entertainment Weekly. 2003-06-24.,,460778,00.html. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  7. ^ "80th Academy Awards Winners". Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  8. ^ "Empire Awards 2005". Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  9. ^ "Empire Awards 2008". Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  10. ^ Cars 2 DVD commentary by director John Lasseter and co-director Brad Lewis
  11. ^ "The Bourne Identity (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Box Office Mojo, LLC. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  12. ^ "The Bourne Supremacy (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Box Office Mojo, LLC. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  13. ^ "The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Box Office Mojo, LLC.. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  14. ^ "The Bourne Legacy (2012)". Box Office Mojo. Box Office Mojo, LLC.. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  15. ^ a b "The Bourne Identity". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  16. ^ "The Bourne Identity". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  17. ^ a b "The Bourne Supremacy". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  18. ^ "The Bourne Supremacy". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  19. ^ a b "The Bourne Ultimatum". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  20. ^ "The Bourne Ultimatum". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  21. ^ a b "The Bourne Legacy". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  22. ^ "The Bourne Legacy". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved 2012-08-14. 

External links