“The Bourne Identity,” featuring famous Mini chase scene, is released - HISTORY
Year
2002

“The Bourne Identity,” featuring famous Mini chase scene, is released

In one of the most memorable scenes in the film “The Bourne Identity,” released on this day in 2002, the amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) drives a vintage Austin Mini Cooper through the traffic-heavy streets of Paris to evade his police and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) pursuers. 

As the film begins, Bourne, an elite CIA-trained assassin, has gone AWOL following a failed operation. Suffering from amnesia, he struggles to find clues to his own identity, using his lethal skills along the way as his superiors and local law enforcement try to track him down. In Zurich, he meets Marie Kreutz (Franka Potente) and offers her $20,000 in cash to drive him from to Paris in her battered red Mini. Directed by Doug Liman and adapted from the bestselling 1980 novel by Robert Ludlum, “The Bourne Identity” takes place in diverse locations all over Europe, including Marseille, Zurich, the Alps, the French countryside, the Greek island of Santorini and of course Paris, scene of the famous car chase.

Beginning in front of the Gare du Nord train station, the scene was shot in a variety of locations around the city. “Buckle up,” Bourne warns Kreutz, before maneuvering the tiny stick-shift Mini at high speeds through narrow alleyways, across sidewalks, down steps and up one-way streets the wrong way. The chase ends when one of the police officers pursuing the Mini crashes his motorcycle into a Peugeot 405, and Bourne drives the car into a parking garage. “Bourne Identity” producer Frank Marshall told USA Todaythat filmmakers used five different vintage Minis to make the film, and that only one of them was left when filming wrapped. 

The diminutive Mini Cooper, a British-made sports car first produced in 1959, was a fixture in spy films of the 1960s and 1970s, including the classic 1969 film “The Italian Job,” starring Michael Caine. In the 2002 comedy “Austin Powers in Goldmember,” a character also played by Caine drives a modern version of the Mini, now manufactured by German automaker BMW; an updated version of “The Italian Job” in 2003 also featured the modern Mini.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Grenfell Tower fire ills 71 in London

Shortly before 1:00 A.M. On June 14, 2017, a fire tore through West London’s 24-story Grenfell tower. 71 people were killed in what was the deadliest fire in Britain in more than a century.The fire started in a Hotpoint brand fridge-freezer in a fourth floor apartment. The flames ...read more

Falkland Islands War ends

After suffering through six weeks of military defeats against Britain’s armed forces, Argentina surrenders to Great Britain, ending the Falkland Islands War.The Falkland Islands, located about 300 miles off the southern tip of Argentina, had long been claimed by the British. ...read more

UNIVAC computer dedicated

On June 14, 1951, the U.S. Census Bureau dedicates UNIVAC, the world’s first commercially produced electronic digital computer. UNIVAC, which stood for Universal Automatic Computer, was developed by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, makers of ENIAC, the first general-purpose ...read more

Bounty mutiny survivors reach Timor

English Captain William Bligh and 18 others, cast adrift from the HMS Bounty seven weeks before, reach Timor in the East Indies after traveling nearly 4,000 miles in a small, open boat.On April 28, Fletcher Christian, the master’s mate on the Bounty, led a successful mutiny ...read more

Congress adopts the Stars and Stripes

During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress adopts a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” The national ...read more

Germans enter Paris

On this day in 1940, Parisians awaken to the sound of a German-accented voice announcing via loudspeakers that a curfew was being imposed for 8 p.m. that evening-as German troops enter and occupy Paris.British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had tried for days to convince the ...read more

U.S. command announces troop withdrawal

The U.S. command announces that three combat units will be withdrawn from Vietnam. They were the 1st and 2nd Brigades of the U.S. Army 9th Infantry Division and Regimental Landing Team 9 of the 3rd Marine Division–a total of about 13,000 to 14,000 men. These troops were part of ...read more

Jordan leads Bulls to sixth NBA title

On June 14, 1998, Michael Jordan leads the Chicago Bulls to an 87-86 win over the Utah Jazz in Game Six of the NBA Finals to clinch their third consecutive NBA title. Jordan scored 45 points and hit the winning jump shot with 5.2 seconds left on the clock in what seemed a fitting ...read more

California’s Bear Flag revolt begins

Anticipating the outbreak of war with Mexico, American settlers in California rebel against the Mexican government and proclaim the short-lived California Republic.The political situation in California was tense in 1846. Though nominally controlled by Mexico, California was home ...read more

Folk singer Burl Ives is born

Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives, a prominent folk singer and Academy Award-winning actor, is born on this day in 1909 near Hunt City, Illinois.To almost anyone born in the 1950s or later, the singer Burl Ives is best known for his voiceover work as the jovial Sam the Snowman in the ...read more

Harriet Beecher Stowe is born

Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, is born on this day in Litchfield, Connecticut, the seventh child of Congregationalist minister Lyman Beecher.Stowe studied at private schools in Connecticut and worked as a teacher in Hartford for five years until her father ...read more

Queen Elizabeth makes Helen Mirren a Dame

On this day in 2003, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II publishes the list of those she has chosen to appoint as Officers of the Order of the British Empire as part of the traditional Queen’s Birthday Honours. Included on the list were (among others) the soccer star David Beckham, the ...read more

Flash flood devastates Oregon town

A flash flood in Oregon kills 324 people on this day in 1903. The sudden onslaught of water caused millions of dollars in damages to the central Oregon town of Heppner. Nearly a tenth of the United States is made up of floodplains that would normally be inundated with water at ...read more

TWA flight 847 is hijacked by terrorists

TWA Flight 847 from Athens to Rome is hijacked by Shiite Hezbollah terrorists who immediately demand to know the identity of ”those with Jewish-sounding names.” Two of the Lebanese terrorists, armed with grenades and a 9-mm. pistol, then forced the plane to landin Beirut, ...read more

First nationwide civil defense drill held

Over 12 million Americans “die” in a mock nuclear attack, as the United States goes through its first nationwide civil defense drill. Though American officials were satisfied with the results of the drill, the event stood as a stark reminder that the United States—and the ...read more