The Bourne Movies in Chronological and Release Order


The Bourne franchise has captivated audiences for over two decades with its heart-pounding action sequences, intricate spy plots, and a relentless amnesiac hero. But with five films and a television series, navigating the world of Jason Bourne can be tricky. This guide will equip you with everything you need to know, exploring the order of the Bourne movies in both chronological and release order.

The Bourne franchise

Release Order: A Familiar Journey

For many, the Bourne franchise began in 2002 with the release of The Bourne Identity. Matt Damon stars as Jason Bourne, a man found riddled with bullet wounds and suffering from amnesia. With only a Swiss bank account number as a clue, Bourne embarks on a desperate chase to uncover his identity while evading ruthless assassins. This film established the core themes of the series: a flawed hero with a mysterious past, high-stakes espionage, and thrilling hand-to-hand combat.

The Bourne Supremacy (2004) picks up two years later. Bourne, having pieced together fragments of his past, seeks solace in a quiet life. However, his efforts are shattered when a former colleague leaks classified information, forcing Bourne back into the shadows to clear his name. This film delves deeper into the Treadstone program, the government conspiracy that molded Bourne into a lethal weapon.

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) serves as a thrilling culmination to the initial trilogy. Bourne intensifies his pursuit of the truth, determined to expose those responsible for turning him into an assassin. The film throws him into a global game of cat and mouse, showcasing his honed skills as he confronts former allies and powerful enemies.

The Bourne Legacy (2012) marked a departure from the core narrative. Jeremy Renner takes center stage as Aaron Cross, another Treadstone agent facing a new threat. This film explores a black ops program called Blackbriar, showcasing the far-reaching consequences of government experimentation. While not directly following Jason Bourne’s story, it thematically connects to the larger conspiracy.

Jason Bourne (2016) brings Matt Damon back to the forefront. Twelve years after the events of The Bourne Ultimatum, a new cyber threat emerges, prompting Jason Bourne to resurface. He uncovers a hidden chapter within Treadstone, leading him on a collision course with those who still control his fate.

Chronological Order: Unveiling the Mysteries

For a deeper understanding of Jason Bourne’s journey and the evolution of the conspiracy, watching the films chronologically is recommended. Here’s the order:

The Bourne Identity (2002): This film sets the stage and introduces the core mystery surrounding Jason Bourne’s past.

Treadstone (2019): While a television series, Treadstone provides crucial backstory. It explores the creation and operation of the Treadstone program, the project that turned individuals like Jason Bourne into lethal assassins.

The Bourne Supremacy (2004): This film follows directly from The Bourne Identity, showcasing the consequences of Bourne’s actions and revealing details about Treadstone.

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007): The culmination of the initial Jason Bourne trilogy, this film reveals the truth behind Treadstone and its ultimate fate.

The Bourne Legacy (2012): This standalone film explores a different black ops program, Blackbriar, but thematically connects to the larger conspiracy.

Jason Bourne (2016): Set several years after The Bourne Ultimatum, this film revisits Jason Bourne as he confronts a new threat and uncovers a hidden layer of Treadstone.

Why Watch the Bourne Movies?

The Bourne franchise offers more than just action sequences. Here’s what keeps audiences hooked:

A Compelling Enigma: Jason Bourne’s struggle with amnesia and his quest for identity resonate deeply. Audiences root for him to reclaim his past while questioning the morality of the programs that created him.

Gritty Realism: The Bourne films have a distinct visual style that emphasizes shaky camerawork and close-quarters combat. This creates a sense of immediacy and realism, immersing viewers in the heart of the action.

A Global Conspiracy: The films weave a complex web of intrigue, exposing the dark underbelly of government agencies and their covert operations. This keeps viewers guessing and constantly seeking answers.

Evolving Characters: While Jason Bourne remains the central figure, other characters like Nicky Parsons and Pamela Landy evolve throughout the series. Their motivations and loyalties shift, keeping the narrative unpredictable.


In what order should I watch the Bourne movies?

There are two main ways to experience the Bourne universe:

Release Order: This is the order the movies came out in theaters. It allows you to see how the franchise evolved over time:

The Bourne Identity (2002)

The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

The Bourne Legacy (2012) (This one features a different central character)

Jason Bourne (2016)

Chronological Order: This follows the story timeline within the movies:

The Bourne Identity (2002)

The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

Jason Bourne (2016) (While not strictly a prequel, it delves deeper into Bourne’s past)

The Bourne Legacy (2012) (This one is separate but still connected)

What is the difference between release order and chronological order?

The first three movies (Identity, Supremacy, Ultimatum) follow a clear chronological order. Jason Bourne (2016) goes back in time to reveal more about Bourne’s past while still pushing the story forward. The Bourne Legacy (2012) is a spin-off featuring a new character connected to the Treadstone program, the secret government project that created Jason Bourne.

What are the movies about?

Each movie revolves around Jason Bourne, a former CIA assassin suffering from amnesia. He tries to piece together his identity while being hunted by those who want him silenced. The films explore themes of government conspiracies, identity, and the blurred lines between good and evil.

Do I need to watch them all in order?

While watching in order provides a smoother narrative flow, the first three movies (Identity, Supremacy, Ultimatum) are standalone stories to a large extent. You can still enjoy them individually, but some references and character development might be lost. The Bourne Legacy (2012) is a separate story but set within the same universe.

Is there a Jason Bourne TV series?

Yes, there is a short-lived TV series called “Treadstone” (2019). It serves as a prequel to the movies, exploring the origins of the Treadstone program that created Jason Bourne.

I’m new to the series. Where should I begin?

If you’re new to Bourne, starting with “The Bourne Identity” (2002) is the recommended route. It introduces the core concept and throws you right into the action.

I’m a big fan. What’s next for the Bourne franchise?

There haven’t been any official announcements about new Bourne movies. However, with the enduring popularity of the series, a return to the world of Jason Bourne is always a possibility.

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