The Bourne Ultimatum Movie Poster Image

The Bourne Ultimatum

Excellent, smart spy thriller for mature teens and up.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 115 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Mixed messages. Government is portrayed as corrupt and manipulative, and the main character battles against it in order to live a free life. On the other hand, the fight scenes are what makes the Bourne movies so watchable, so while the ideals of righteousness and purity are celebrated, so is violence.

Positive role models

Bourne is singularly moral-minded, though he hasn't always been that way; CIA agents and other killers are deadly, calculating, and cold.


Bourne first appears limping and being chased aboard a moving train; he jumps off, finds a hospital, trails blood everywhere, washes his bloody hands, self-injects a needle full of painkiller, hits one officer and holds his gun on another. Flashbacks throughout show young Bourne's torture (hooded figures, waterboarding, frantic camerawork and dissolves), refer to his girlfriend's murder ("shot in the head"). Scene in morgue shows corpse. Violent acts -- shown in chaotic camerawork and editing -- include explosions (preceded by bomb-making), punching, kicking, flipping, leaping, falling, crashing through a window, car-crashing and -screeching, shooting (by snipers and face-to-face), bone-breaking, stabbing.


In subjective flashbacks, Bourne tenderly kisses Maria (his dead girlfriend), once underwater, as she floats away.


Several uses of "s--t" and "damn," repeated uses of "hell" in frustration (e.g., "What the hell's going on here?").


Vespa motorbike.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In flashbacks, Bourne and another man appear to be sedated.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Bourne Ultimatum features wall-to-wall action, much of it violent, causing repeated, bloody injuries to Bourne. The film includes car chases and crashes, explosions, fights, falls from great heights, smashes through windows, and murders (hand-to-hand, by gunfire), as well as images of dead bodies. The plot involves high tech surveillance and a dastardly, secret CIA program, and the hero comes to distrust his (U.S.) government (that said, Senate hearings at film's end lead to arrests of "rogue agents"). Language includes "s--t," "damn," and "hell."

What's the story?

In THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM -- the very smart third film in the Bourne series -- super-spy-assassin Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) finally gets some answers. In a plot that resembles Robocop meets Manchurian Candidate, Bourne seeks not only his identity, but also the individuals responsible for both his loss of memory and extraordinary killing skills. His search leads him from Torino to Paris, London to Tangier, and then on to Manhattan, each city yielding a piece of Bourne's puzzle. His hunters this time include the CIA's Deputy Director Vosen (David Strathairn) and others behind the scenes, who use all manner of astounding surveillance technology as well as "assets," or killers trained like Bourne. No longer a brutal instrument of the government, eliminating "targets" for unknown reasons, Bourne now becomes a moral center, a remarkably resilient one at that. Again and again, he rises from crashes and fights, like the Terminator, ever in motion, resolved to find his secret-agency "maker."

Is it any good?


The film's action is stunning (fast, visceral, stylized), and the consequences deadly. When he learns that a London Guardian reporter, Ross (Paddy Considine), has stumbled onto Blackbriar, Bourne makes contact, then directs his every step by cell phone, negotiating a crowded Waterloo Station and avoiding a CIA sniper. Given his deep sense of loss concerning Marie (killed in the last film), it's not surprising that Bourne shares a distrust of the CIA with two women, specialist Pam Landy (Joan Allen) and an agent, Nicky (Julia Stiles), who both helped to track Bourne in the previous films and now question Vosen's extreme measures. Nicky's understanding of Bourne may be the most poignant, as she watches him resolve a brilliantly edited chase scene in Tangier with an amazing fight against yet another "asset."

Bourne's quest leads him to ugly truths, about himself and the behavior-modifying experiment that created him. As his memory returns, he has flashbacks of his training, including torture. The film goes on to show that Bourne once believed he was doing the right thing, that he would "save American lives" by giving himself "to the program." When he finally finds himself, he sees he must determine his own motivations, not believe in someone else's.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Bourne's sense of betrayal: How does he come to see himself as a tool, created and used by the CIA, and how does his moral sense lead him to challenge his "employers"?

  • Why might it be significant that Bourne is helped by the two women agents, who both question their boss' efforts to cover up the secret program?

  • How does Bourne's amnesia make him different from most other, very self-secure action heroes?

  • Does the violence in The Bourne Ultimatum ever feel over the top? Is it exciting or gruesome? Which do you think it's intended to be? Why?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 2, 2007
DVD/Streaming release date:December 11, 2007
Cast:Joan Allen, Julia Stiles, Matt Damon
Director:Paul Greengrass
Studio:Universal Pictures
Run time:115 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:violence and intense sequences of action

This review of The Bourne Ultimatum was written by

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Teen, 13 years old Written bysgjohnson February 4, 2010

Best Bourne movie

The story starts off with action and then builds up. It has the right balance of fighting, talk/investigation, and humor. The car chase stands out in a world where automobile scenes are cliche. The only thing that I found annoying were the flashbacks. They happened every few minutes and looked like someone waving around a camera. Overall, I would watch it again.
Teen, 13 years old Written by9001 November 13, 2009

Wonderful movie, but way to violent for kids.

Wonderful movie, but extremely violent.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Adult Written bySurprise April 9, 2008
Media is allowing too much to filter through to our children. May seem cool, but definately too much violence/suspense for a pre/mid-teen to see. Great ADULT film though!!