Bourne Movies In Order: #1 Watch Guide

From the moment a strange, bullet ridden man was first discovered floating in the Mediterranean Sea, many of us were hooked on the story of Jason Bourne.

The tense film series delivered endless action among complex questions of identity and memory, plus some of cinema’s best chase scenes.

Bourne Movies In Order #1 Watch Guide

If you’ve never seen the Bourne movies before, then you might be wondering where to start. Jason Bourne is a man suffering from some serious memory loss, and jumping in at the wrong point will leave you just as confused!

Read on to find the ultimate watch guide for enjoying the Bourne movies in order. 

Bourne Movies By Release Date

The Bourne Identity (2002)

  • Release: June 14th, 2002
  • Directed by: Doug Liman
  • Starring: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Clive Owen, Brian Cox
  • Running Time: 119 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13

About The Bourne Identity

A man (Matt Damon) adrift in the Mediterranean Sea is rescued by Italian fishermen. He has two bullet wounds in his back, a remarkable fluency in several languages, skills in advanced combat, and no memory of who he is.

A laser projector in his hip leads the man to a Swiss safe deposit box, where he finds money, a gun, and a name: Jason Bourne.

It isn’t long before Bourne discovers his life is in danger. Fighting to evade the CIA agents who are chasing him down, Bourne is aided in his escape by Marie Kreutz (Franka Potente), although she now finds herself in the firing line as well.

But as the situation escalates, the question of who Jason Bourne is becomes even more pressing, particularly as he appears to have been embroiled in a high profile assassination attempt.

On its initial release, The Bourne Identity was a refreshing burst of gritty action in a genre that had become overly polished in the previous years.

Intensely engaging, the low budget feel blended with the quality set pieces made The Bourne Identity a hit. Intelligent without being complex, the tough edge and shaky camerawork gave much-needed realism to a potentially farfetched storyline.

Begin your Bourne watch with The Bourne Identity, to see exactly why the film series became the phenomenon it did.  

The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

  • Release: July 23rd, 2004
  • Directed by: Paul Greengrass
  • Starring: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Karl Urban
  • Running Time: 108 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13

About The Bourne Supremacy

Several years after the events of The Bourne Identity, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) and Marie Kreutz (Franka Potente) are trying to make a life in India.

Bourne still finds himself plagued by flashbacks of his time with the CIA, although gaps in his memory make it hard for him to piece together the truth. Despite that, things are peaceful.

Of course, they can’t stay that way for long. Bourne finds himself mixed up in a botched attack on the CIA when Russian agent Kirill (Karl Urban) attempts to frame him for theft.

Chased down by both the Russians and the CIA, Bourne is forced to rediscover his skills as an assassin when Kirill kills Marie during an attempt to flee.

The Bourne Supremacy follows Bourne as he attempts to both clear his name and find revenge for the murder of Marie.

With action scenes scattered across Europe and North America, Bourne begins to unravel the mystery at the heart of who he is, uncovering exactly what the CIA did to him.

It’s rare for a sequel to live up to the original release, let alone surpass it, but that’s just what The Bourne Supremacy does.

Smarter than The Bourne Identity, the follow-up really pushes the limits of the initial premise. The thrills are intelligently executed, and the high quality cast elevates the action scenes.

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

  • Release: August 3rd, 2007
  • Directed by: Paul Greengrass
  • Starring: Matt Damon, Edgar Ramírez, Julia Stiles, Joan Allen, David Straithairn
  • Running Time: 115 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13

About The Bourne Ultimatum

Rumors of CIA assassination programs have begun to swirl in the press, as recorded confessions expose the dirty dealings of former Directors.

Left seriously wounded by his run in with Russian agents, and angry from his latest experience with the CIA, Jason Bourne (Damon) is forced to turn to his past. 

But the CIA believe some secrets are better left in the dark, and Bourne again finds himself dealing with highly trained assassins intent on silencing him.

When a meeting with a whistleblowing reporter ends in bloodshed, it becomes apparent that for the truth to come out, Bourne will have to rediscover his own CIA-trained talents. Doing so just might reveal the real truth of his history.

Following on from the events of The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum tackles the mystery that started it all: who is Jason Bourne? And why doesn’t he remember?

A ruthless and highly skilled assassin with some serious memory gaps, the mystery of Jason Bourne slowly starts to unravel, as he learns exactly why the CIA are so intent on silencing their former asset.

Again, The Bourne Ultimatum is a sequel that builds upon its predecessor. The fast pace is matched by sharp dialogue and intense plotting, while the gritty realism that defines the series builds to some spectacular action sequences.

Without relying on gimmick, The Bourne Ultimatum makes use of technology to bring a modern slickness to old-school action sequences.

If you’re planning a Bourne watch-party, you’ll want to put this on as soon as the credits roll on the Bourne Supremacy.

The Bourne Legacy (2012)

  • Release: August 8th, 2012
  • Directed by: Tony Gilroy
  • Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach, Oscar Isaac
  • Running Time: 135 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13

About The Bourne Legacy

The actions of Jason Bourne have had far-reaching consequences, as his attempts to discover more about his own history have turned eyes to the black ops Operations being conducted by the CIA.

Secrets are being exposed on an international scale.

Among them is Operation Outcome, a black ops program that attempted to genetically enhance its subjects. One of many programs initiated and run by Eric Byer (Edward Norton), Operation Outcome is chosen to be terminated in order to save other valuable research programs.

As an agent of Operation Outcome, Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) finds himself the target of an assassination attempt. On the run for his life, he teams up with Dr. Maria Shearing (Rachel Weisz), a physician involved in Outcome.

But it’s more than just CIA killers that threaten Cross: adrift from the program, he doesn’t have access to the medications needed to keep up his enhancements.

With a new cast and a new storyline, The Bourne Legacy is less a follow-up to the initial trilogy, and more of an expansion of the universe. Jason Bourne is only mentioned by proxy, and Matt Damon doesn’t show up at all.

However, the Bourne Legacy is an exciting addition to the Bourne canon. It lacks some of the gripping magnetism of the first trilogy, but provides a thrilling and enjoyable side note.

Watch after the first three movies to expand your knowledge of the Bourne universe.

Jason Bourne (2016)

  • Release: July 29th, 2016
  • Directed by: Paul Greengrass
  • Starring: Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Julia Stiles, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel
  • Running Time: 123 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13

About Jason Bourne

Bourne is back! 10 years on from his escape in the East River, Jason Bourne (a returning Matt Damon) finds himself once again drawn into the murky dealings of the CIA.

A decade has passed since Bourne discovered and uncovered the CIA-led Operation Blackbear, and in the years since he has regained his memories, and attempted to retreat from the world.

But new attempts to expose black ops programs have put Bourne at risk, and the CIA are trying again to draw him into the fold. Bourne finds himself forced to leave his quiet life, and fight to survive once again. 

Fighting against the very people who created him, Bourne discovers secrets from his past that have remained buried until now. As well as the true intentions of the agents who are hot on his trail.

Jason Bourne brings Bourne back at his best, once again a tightly wound former CIA assassin with a grudge and a threat against his life.

With the same tense plotting of earlier Bourne movies, Jason Bourne explores the motivations of the CIA operatives who refuse to let things go.

Jason Bourne is enjoyable, even if it doesn’t do much to build on the original trilogy. Watch it after The Bourne Legacy, or dive straight in when you’ve finished The Bourne Ultimatum, and settle Jason Bourne’s story entirely.

Watching The Bourne Movies In Chronological Order

Watching The Bourne Movies In Chronological Order

Both the release dates of the Bourne movies and the chronological events of the film appear in the same order. 

  1. The Bourne Identity. The first release, and the first events chronologically.
  2. The Bourne Supremacy. The second release, it takes place roughly 2 years after the events of The Bourne Identity.
  3. The Bourne Ultimatum. The third release, immediately follows the events of The Bourne Supremacy.
  4. The Bourne Legacy. The fourth release, set in roughly the same time period as the end of The Bourne Ultimatum.
  5. Jason Bourne. The fifth release, it takes place roughly 10 years after the events of The Bourne Ultimatum and The Bourne Legacy.

Another method of watching is to follow the story of Jason Bourne, and then finish with The Bourne Legacy, which expands the universe.

What To Watch Next

If you’ve watched all the films and you just can’t get enough of the Bourne universe, then it’s time to read the books!

The movies are roughly based on the Bourne novels, which were written by Robert Ludlum, and continued by Eric Van Lustbader. There are quite a few of them, so get reading right away!

If you liked this article, you might enjoy our post on ‘Transformers Movies In Order: The Ultimate Guide‘.

Max Roberts