Oliver Wood, Cinematographer of ‘The Bourne Identity’ and ‘Face/Off,’ Dies at 80

oliver wood dead
Paramount Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

Oliver Wood, an English cinematographer whose credits include “Die Hard 2,” “Face/Off,” “The Other Guys” and the original “Bourne” trilogy, died Monday, Feb. 13, at his home in Hollywood following a battle with cancer. He was 80.

With a career spanning across seven decades, Wood worked across a wide variety of projects, collaborating with directors like John Woo, Adam McKay, Antoine Fuqua, Barry Sonnenfeld and Larry Cohen. He was nominated for a BAFTA award for best cinematography for his work on 2007’s “The Bourne Ultimatum,” directed by Paul Greengrass.

Born in London, Wood moved to New York City when he was 19. His first major credit came on Leonard Kastle’s 1970 crime film “The Honeymoon Killers,” making a strong impression for his technique of using available light to give the anachronistic dark comedy the look of a newsreel.

Wood shot numerous B-movies and independent films throughout the late 1970s and ’80s, frequently collaborating with cinematographers Joseph Mangine and Fred Murphy. He also worked as a camera operator on high-profile projects, including 1984’s “Body Rock” and the 1985 film “To Live and Die in L.A.”(1985). Wood was a prolific music video and commercial cinematographer, working for directors like Bob Giraldi and Rupert Wainwright.

Wood’s breakthrough arrived working as the director of photography for 53 episodes of the hit crime series “Miami Vice,” serving as the series’ primary DP between 1987 and 1989. Big-budget Hollywood films followed in the ’90s, with notable credits including “Die Hard 2,” “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey,” “Face/Off” and “U-571.”

In the 2000’s, Wood brought his talents to the “Bourne” trilogy, popularizing a spontaneous, naturalistic visual style that often employed multiple handheld cameras. Wood cited films such as “The Battle of Algiers” as an influence on his technique. His work on the “Bourne” trilogy has been highly influential on the visual language of American action films since the start of the century.

Most recently, Wood collaborated with Daniel Espinoza on “Morbius,” released in 2022.

Wood often voiced his gratitude to be able to travel for his creative profession, as well as heralding his creative collaborators. He is survived by his wife, Sabina Groh; his daughters, Katharine Wood and Fiona Wood; and his son, Emerson Forth.