The Bourne Ultimatum
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaul Greengrass
Screenplay by
Story byTony Gilroy
Based onThe Bourne Ultimatum
by Robert Ludlum
Produced by
CinematographyOliver Wood
Edited byChristopher Rouse
Music byJohn Powell
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release dates
  • July 25, 2007 (2007-07-25) (ArcLight Hollywood)
  • August 3, 2007 (2007-08-03) (United States)
Running time
115 minutes[1]
Budget$110 million[3]
Box office$444.1 million[3]

The Bourne Ultimatum is a 2007 action-thriller film directed by Paul Greengrass. Although it shares its name with the 1990 novel The Bourne Ultimatum by Robert Ludlum, its plot is entirely different. The third installment in the Jason Bourne film series after The Bourne Identity (2002) and The Bourne Supremacy (2004), the screenplay was written by Tony Gilroy, Scott Z. Burns and George Nolfi and based on a screen story of the novel by Gilroy. Matt Damon reprises his role as Ludlum's signature character, former CIA assassin and psychogenic amnesiac Jason Bourne.[4]

Additional cast members who star alongside Damon include Julia Stiles, David Strathairn, Scott Glenn, Paddy Considine, Édgar Ramirez, Albert Finney, and Joan Allen. In the film, Bourne continues his search for information about his past before he was part of Operation Treadstone and becomes a target of a similar assassin program. Produced by The Kennedy/Marshall Company in association with Ludlum Entertainment, The Bourne Ultimatum premiered at ArcLight Hollywood on July 25, 2007 before it was theatrically released by Universal Pictures on August 3 in the United States.

Upon release, it received universal acclaim from critics, who considered it to be the best in the Bourne series. It grossed $444.1 million worldwide against its budget of $110 million becoming, at the time, Damon's highest-grossing film with him as the lead. It was chosen by National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2007 and went on to win all three of its nominations at the 80th Academy Awards: Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing.

A fourth film without the involvement of Damon, titled The Bourne Legacy, was released in August 2012, and the fifth film (a direct sequel to Ultimatum that reprises Damon as the lead role), titled Jason Bourne, was released in July 2016.


Following his pursuit by Kirill,[a] Jason Bourne evades Moscow police while wounded and deals with more flashbacks of when he first joined Operation Treadstone.

Six weeks later, CIA Deputy Director Pamela Landy reveals the audiotaped confession of Ward Abbott, the late former head of Treadstone, to Director Ezra Kramer. Meanwhile, in Turin, journalist Simon Ross of The Guardian learns about Bourne and Operation Blackbriar, the program succeeding Treadstone. The CIA detects Ross through the ECHELON system when he mentions Blackbriar during a phone call to his editor. Bourne reappears in Paris to inform Martin Kreutz, the brother of his girlfriend Marie, of her assassination in India.

After reading Ross's articles, Bourne arranges a meeting with Ross at London Waterloo station. Bourne helps Ross evade capture by the CIA, but Ross later ignores Bourne's instructions and is shot dead by Blackbriar assassin Paz on orders of Deputy Director Noah Vosen. Vosen's team, reluctantly assisted by Landy, analyzes Ross's notes and identifies his source as Neal Daniels, a CIA station chief. Bourne makes his way to Daniels's office in Madrid; instead of finding Daniels, he runs into Nicky Parsons, a former Treadstone operative with whom he shares a history. Parsons tells him that Daniels fled to Tangier, then aids his escape from an arriving CIA unit.

Another Blackbriar assassin, Desh Bouksani, is tasked with killing Daniels. Noticing that Nicky accessed information about Daniels, Vosen also sends Bouksani after her and Bourne, a decision with which Landy fiercely disagrees. Bourne follows Bouksani to Daniels; while he fails to prevent the assassination, he manages to kill Bouksani and save Nicky, who he then sends into hiding. Bourne examines the contents of Daniels's briefcase and finds the address of the deep-cover CIA bureau in NYC where Vosen directs Blackbriar.

Landy receives a phone call from Bourne[a], which is intercepted by Vosen. She tells Bourne that his real name is David Webb and gives him the birth date "4-15-71". Vosen also intercepts a text to Landy from Bourne of a location to meet up, and leaves his office with a tactical team. After everyone has left, Bourne enters Vosen's office and takes classified Blackbriar documents, then calls Vosen to reveal where he is. Vosen sends Paz after Bourne; the resulting chase between the two ends with them crashing their cars. Bourne holds the injured Paz at gunpoint, but spares his life. Landy meets Bourne at a hospital at 415 East 71st Street, the address in Landy's coded message; he gives her the Blackbriar files before going inside.

Landy sends the Blackbriar files out before Vosen can stop her, ensuring the program will become known to the public. Meanwhile, Bourne confronts Dr. Albert Hirsch, the man who ran Treadstone's behavior modification program. Through a discussion with Hirsch, Bourne soon remembers the truth: He volunteered for Treadstone. The CIA catches up with Bourne, so he flees to the roof. He is confronted there by a confused Paz, who asks Bourne why he didn't shoot earlier. Bourne asks Paz if he knows why he is supposed to kill Bourne, then repeats the last words of Treadstone asset "The Professor": “Look at us. Look at what they make you give.”[b] Paz lowers his gun, but Vosen appears and shoots at Bourne, who jumps into the East River during the gunfire.

Three days later, Nicky watches a news broadcast about the exposure of Operation Blackbriar, the arrests of Hirsch and Vosen, a criminal investigation against Kramer, and the status of David Webb, a.k.a. Jason Bourne. Upon hearing that his body has not been found, Nicky smiles, knowing that Bourne survived.


In addition, Colin Stinton plays CIA Station Chief Neal Daniels, who is leaking information to Ross, while Joey Ansah plays Desh, the Blackbriar assassin sent to kill Daniels.


Scenes were filmed at London Waterloo station between October 2006 and April 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum was filmed at Pinewood Studios near London and in multiple locations around the world, including Tangier, London, Paris, Madrid (as itself and double for Turin), Berlin (as double for Moscow), New York City including the Springs Mills Building (as the deep cover CIA offices), and other locations in the U.S.[5][6]

Tony Gilroy, who had co-written the screenplays of the first two Bourne films, had intended The Bourne Supremacy to emphasise Bourne's repentance and atonement for his murders, but felt that the released film omitted this focus.[7] Gilroy was persuaded to write an initial draft of The Bourne Ultimatum, but did not participate further, and as of 2009 had not watched the finished film.[7] Gilroy's screenplay draft was subsequently criticized by Matt Damon.[8]

Tom Stoppard wrote a draft of the screenplay, later saying "I don't think there's a single word of mine in the film."[9] Greengrass said the film included several allusions to scenes from previous Bourne films; for example, the opening chase sequence of The Bourne Ultimatum is a continuation of the Russian police attempts to capture Bourne in Moscow near the end of The Bourne Supremacy and takes place soon after Bourne's apology to Neski's daughter.[10]

Paul Greengrass spoke about the characterization of Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum shortly before its release:

Bourne is a real man in a real world in pursuit of a mythic quest. What's wonderful is that it's an oppositional story. Is he a killer, or was he made to be a killer? There is an underlying feeling that Bourne is one of us, and he's running away from "them." He's trying to get answers, and he doesn't trust them. They're all bad, and the system's corrupted. To convey that with a sense of excitement in a very contemporary land-scape is great fun. [...] If you opened your door in New York or Paris or London or whatever, you've got to believe that whatever the story it is that Bourne's engaged in [, something] could be happening there. [...] What attracts me to Bourne's world is that it is a real world and I think I'm most comfortable there.[11]


Main article: The Bourne Ultimatum: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

As with the previous films in the trilogy, the score was composed by John Powell. A new version of Moby's "Extreme Ways", entitled "Extreme Ways (Bourne's Ultimatum)", was recorded for the film's end credits.

"Scotty Doesn't Know", which Bourne listens to while sniping, is a song which Damon's character sings in EuroTrip.[12]


A premiere of The Bourne Ultimatum was held in downtown Oklahoma City on July 31, 2007, at Harkins Bricktown Theaters[13] to benefit The Children's Center, located in suburban Bethany. The film was shown simultaneously on three screens. Matt Damon was at the event to greet guests. The film premiered at Leicester Square in London on August 15, 2007, with Matt Damon, Julia Stiles and Joan Allen attending. The film was released the next day.[14] The film premiered in Sydney on August 8, 2007, at the State Theatre, with Matt Damon attending. An advance screening of The Bourne Ultimatum was held at The Egyptian Theatre to benefit Boise Contemporary Theater on July 30, 2007. Producer Frank Marshall and actor Matt Damon were in attendance.[15] The first two films, The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy, also had advance charity screenings in Boise. The Bourne Ultimatum was released nationwide on August 30, 2007.[16]

Home media

The film was released on both DVD and HD DVD on December 11, 2007 in North America.[17] The DVD was released in both Fullscreen and 2.35:1 Widescreen aspect ratios. The HD DVD and DVD special features[18] include several deleted scenes, featurettes, audio commentary, and exclusively on the HD DVD version, HDi Interactive Format features such as Picture-in-Picture Video Commentary. In addition to the stand-alone DVD release, there is a limited edition 'The Jason Bourne Collection' gift set, featuring all three films on DVD and a bonus disc with myriad bonus features such as deleted scenes and featurettes. The gift set features Swiss Bank safe deposit box packaging including foreign currency and a Jason Bourne passport.[19][20] The film and special features on the HD DVD version are presented in 2:35:1 Widescreen high definition 1080i and offer Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio options.[18]


Box office

The Bourne Ultimatum earned $69,283,690 during its opening weekend at the box office,[3] which at the time had the highest August opening weekend, beating Rush Hour 3.[21] It would hold that record for seven years until it was overtaken by Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014.[22] At the end of its theatrical release, the film grossed a total of $227,471,070 in the U.S. and $215,353,068 in foreign markets for a worldwide total of $442,824,138, making it the highest-grossing film in the series.[3]

Critical response

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 92% of 268 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 8.0/10. The website's consensus reads: "The Bourne Ultimatum is an intelligent, finely tuned non-stop thrill ride. Another strong performance from Matt Damon and sharp camerawork from Paul Greengrass make this the finest installment of the Bourne trilogy."[23] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 85 out of 100, based on 49 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[24] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore assigned the film an average grade of "A" on its A+ to F scale.

Like its predecessor, The Bourne Supremacy, the film was criticized for its use of "shaky camera" work, as Richard Corliss of Time magazine, in an otherwise positive review, wondered "why, in the chat scenes, the camera is afflicted with Parkinson's? The film frame trembles, obscures the speaker with the listener's shoulder, annoys viewers and distracts them from the content of the scene."[25]

In the British press, the inclusion of a fictional journalist from the real British paper The Guardian and scenes set in the United Kingdom (particularly Waterloo railway station) were commented upon. In particular, that newspaper's reviewer joked that "dodging bullets from a CIA sniper... is the sort of thing which happens to us Guardian journalists all the time."[26][27][28][29]

The film was also well received in the hacker subculture, as it showed actual real-world applications such as the Bourne-again shell (developed by Stephen R. Bourne, not the fictional Jason Bourne) and Nmap, unlike many other films featuring hacking scenes (such as Hackers).[30]

Top ten lists

The film appeared on several critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2007.[31]


Award Category Recipient Result
Academy Awards[34] Best Film Editing[35] Christopher Rouse Won
Best Sound Editing[35] Karen M. Baker and Per Hallberg Won
Best Sound Mixing[35] Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis Won
BAFTA Awards Best Direction Paul Greengrass Nominated
Best Cinematography Oliver Wood Nominated
Best Editing Christopher Rouse Won
Best Sound Scott Millan, David Parker, Kirk Francis, Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg Won
Best Special Visual Effects Peter Chiang, Charlie Noble, Mattias Lindahl, and Joss Williams Nominated

Other awards


Main articles: The Bourne Legacy (film) and Jason Bourne (film)

In May 2007, prior to the release of The Bourne Ultimatum, Matt Damon claimed that he would not be interested in returning for a fourth Bourne film, stating (of his participation in the Bourne franchise): "We have ridden that horse as far as we can."[37] Damon said in August 2007:

I think in terms of another one, the story of this guy's search for his identity is over, because he's got all the answers, so there's no way we can trot out the same character, and so much of what makes him interesting is that internal struggle that was happening for him, am I a good guy, am I a bad guy, what is the secret behind my identity, what am I blocking out, why am I remembering these disturbing images? So all of that internal propulsive mechanism that drives the character is not there, so if there was to be another one then it would have to be a complete reconfiguration, you know, where do you go from there? For me I kind of feel like the story that we set out to tell has now been told. I love the character, and if Paul Greengrass calls me in ten years and says, 'Now we can do it, because it's been ten years and I have a way to bring him back,' then there's a world in which I can go, 'Yeah, absolutely.' We could get the band back together if there was a great idea behind it, but in terms of now and this story, that part—the story's been told...[38]

However, on February 22, 2008, Variety reported that a fourth film was indeed in the works, with both Damon and Greengrass on board.[39]

On October 16, 2008, it was announced that George Nolfi would write the script, with Frank Marshall producing, and Jeffrey Weiner and Henry Morrison executive producing. Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Joan Allen, and Paul Greengrass were also attached to the film.[40][41][42] Joshua Zetumer had been hired to write a parallel script—a draft which could be combined with another (Nolfi's, in this instance)—by August 2009 since Nolfi would be directing The Adjustment Bureau that September.[43]

On February 1, 2010, Damon, speaking at the U.K. premiere of Invictus, revealed that a follow-up to The Bourne Ultimatum was "at least five years away". Greengrass, also at the premiere, re-stated that he would not be part of any further Bourne films "unless the right script came along". However, Damon revealed that in the meantime there may be a Bourne "prequel of some kind, with another actor and another director".[44] Matt Damon reconfirmed this on a March 10, 2010 appearance of Today and that he would only be involved if Greengrass was directing.[45]

In June 2010, it was announced that Tony Gilroy would be writing The Bourne Legacy and it would have a 2012 release date.[46] That October, Gilroy was announced as the director of The Bourne Legacy;[47] he confirmed that Damon would not return for this film and that there would be "a whole new hero":

This is not a reboot, it's a whole new chapter. The easiest way to think of it is an expansion or a reveal. Jason Bourne will not be in this film, but he's very much alive. What happened in the first three films is the trigger for The Bourne Legacy, and everyone who got into them will be rewarded for paying attention. I'm building a legend and an environment and a wider conspiracy. We're going to show you the bigger picture, the bigger canvas... The world we're making enhances and advances and invites Jason Bourne's reappearance somewhere down the road."[48]

The Bourne Legacy was released in the U.S. on August 10, 2012.[49]

Universal Pictures stated at a media conference in Los Angeles, California, that they are likely to release more Bourne films, despite The Bourne Legacy being given mixed reviews by critics.[50] 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.[51][52] On June 18, 2014, the studio pushed back the film from August 14, 2015, to July 15, 2016.[53] The film Jason Bourne premiered in the United States on July 29, 2016 to mixed reviews.

See also


  1. ^ a b As depicted in The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
  2. ^ As depicted in The Bourne Identity (2002)


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