WATCH: The TV-Movie Version of The Bourne Identity Premiered 33 Years Ago Today on ABC

  • On May 8, 1988, ABC premiered Part One of a two-part TV-movie called The Bourne Identity. Based on the 1980 Robert Ludlum novel of the same name, the film starring Richard Chamberlain (Dr. Kildare, The Thorn Birds) as an amnesiac who has been shot in the head and left adrift in the Mediterranean Sea, and who is saved from certain death by a Dr. Geoffrey Washburn (Denholm Elliott of the Indiana Jones films). His quest to find out who he is comes with a lot more danger than one might normally expect, since people keep trying to kill him, which only leads him further into a deadly web of intrigue and betrayal across Europe. He learns that his name is Bourne, and he is in search of a mysterious terrorist named Carlos. 

    Most of us are, of course, familiar with the 2002 high-octane, stunt-loaded action thriller franchise starring Matt Damon, but this adaptation from screenwriter Carol Sobieski (Fried Green Tomatoes) hewed a lot closer to the original Cold War-era novel, and also features Jaclyn Smith (Charlie's Angels) as Marie St. Jacques, who is initially an impromptu hostage of Mr. Bourne before becoming his ally.

    Above is Part One, and below is Part Two, which brings the total run time of the film to just over three hours. 

    Andy Hunsaker has a head full of sitcom gags and nerd-genre lore, and can be followed @AndyHunsaker if you're into that sort of thing.

    TOPICS: ABC, The Bourne Identity, Anthony Quayle, Denholm Elliott, Jaclyn Smith, Richard Chamberlain