Richard Chamberlain _is_ Jason Bourne

The Bourne Identity – brilliant movie, huh? Do you know what isn’t a brilliant movie, though? The Bourne Identity.

Confusing, huh? That’s because you probably didn’t realise that the excellent 2002 movie starring Matt Damon wasn’t the first adaptation of Robert Ludlum’s book The Bourne Identity, about a spy apparently called Jason Bourne who loses his memory after being shot and has to recover his identity. Nope, back in 1988, US TV network ABC adapted it as a three-hour movie which they turned into a two-part mini-series. Except rather than Matt Damon, they got Richard Chamberlain to play ‘Jason Bourne’. And they forgot to get someone decent to direct it. Or give it a decent special effects budget.

Ironically, the 1988 adaptation, which you can watch part of below, while worse is a lot more faithful to the book and it does feature Anthony Quayle, Jaclyn Smith and Denholm Elliott as well, so you might prefer it, particularly if you’re a Ludlum fan.

This is only part 1 – other parts are on YouTube, but you should probably get it on DVD if you like it for some reason.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.