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. 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.
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 Russian cop, 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 tells her that it was not a murder suicide, as she had been long told. Bourne then goes back into hiding.
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 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.
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 has 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 on 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.
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.
Producer Frank Marshall said Universal Pictures is hoping to plan a sequel to Jason Bourne, making it the sixth Bourne film. However, in March 2017, Matt Damon cast doubt upon a sequel, hinting that people "might be done" with the character. He also stated that a sequel to The Bourne Legacy featuring Renner's Cross is unlikely although he didn't explicitly rule it out.List indicator(s)A dark grey cell indicates that the character was not in the film or that the character's presence in the film has yet to be announced.A V indicates a voice-only role.An A indicates an appearance through archival footage or audio.
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.
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 will 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 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 song "Extreme Ways" by musician Moby is used as the end title theme of all five films.