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Trainspotting (1996)

R  |   |  Drama  |  23 February 1996 (UK)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 423,668 users   Metascore: 83/100
Reviews: 500 user | 128 critic | 27 from Metacritic.com

Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: Trainspotting (1996)

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Top 250 Movies #154 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 22 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Susan Vidler ...
Pauline Lynch ...
Lizzy
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Gail
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Gavin / US Tourist
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Mikey Forrester
Dale Winton ...
Game Show Host
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Storyline

A wild, freeform, Rabelaisian trip through the darkest recesses of Edinburgh low-life, focusing on Mark Renton and his attempt to give up his heroin habit, and how the latter affects his relationship with family and friends: Sean Connery wannabe Sick Boy, dimbulb Spud, psycho Begbie, 14-year-old girlfriend Diane, and clean-cut athlete Tommy, who's never touched drugs but can't help being curious about them... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a starter home. Choose dental insurance, leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose your future. But why would anyone want to do a thing like that? See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic heroin use and resulting depravity, strong language, sex, nudity and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

|

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 February 1996 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Ferrovipathes  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£4,703,433 (UK) (15 March 1996)

Gross:

$16,501,785 (USA) (13 December 1996)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The opening chase scene after the robbery is a nod to The Clash's video for 'Bankrobber,' in which the bank robbers in the video are being chased in a similar fashion and similar camera shot. See more »

Goofs

When Tommy wants to try heroin and presents the folded banknote to Renton (seen from both Renton's and Tommy's point of view), the imagery partly visible on one side of the folded note is not consistent with that on the other side. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mark "Rent-boy" Renton: [narrating] Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suit on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The voice-over during the end of the end credits cites the seven movies in which Sean Connery played "James Bond". See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cult of...: Hamish Macbeth (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Sing
Performed by Blur
Lyrics by Damon Albarn
Music by Damon Albarn / Graham Coxon / Alex James / Dave Rowntree (as David Rowntree)
Published by MCA Music Ltd
Licensed by EMI Records Ltd
By Courtesy of Parlophone and EMI Special Markets UK
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Hilarious, imaginative and very anti-drugs
20 January 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Renton is a heroin addict. He is one of a group of friends who live their lives day to day and hit to hit. When he tries to kick the habit he manages it for a while but eventually falls back into his old way. Meanwhile his friends are as messed up as he is, whether it be Spud's pathetic addiction, Begbie's violent rages or the fact that he is sleeping with a girl who still goes to school.

When it came out this film was very hyped, the poster became a must-have on every student's bedroom wall and the media went nuts over it's supposed glamorisation of drug use. The plot is very difficult to summarise, as it doesn't really have a narrative flow other than the very disjointed experience of Renton. However it manages to be very funny and imaginative all the way, using many different tricks and touches to be funny. The dialogue is very well written and I must admit I found it a lot funnier than the last few comedies I watched.

The media may have condemned this film as promoting drug use, but I can only imagine that they watched a different film from me. Sure, the film shows drugs as being fun and enjoyable but, like Renton says, `why else would we do it?' However the film clearly shows a massive downside where people's lives are destroyed, people OD and lives go day to day just trying to get high. True, it does show this downside in a stylish and funny way but there is no question that the film is promoting drug use in any sense.

Too often I see films that are style over substance; Trainspotting gets it just perfect, stylish but not at the expense of dialogue, character or film. It is helped by a great cast. McGregor jumped to stardom off the back of this role and he deserved it. He keeps his character both likeable but repulsive at the same time and carries the film with surprising ease. The support cast is excellent, even if they lack the same good character of Renton. Whether it is the comic Bremner, the violent Carlyle or the tragic McKidd. While not all their characters are well developed, they do all give good accounts of themselves, whether it is comic or showing the effects of heroin on their lives.

Overall this is a great film that is refreshing to see now without all the `cult student cool' hype or media feeding frenzy over it's supposed pro-drug approach. It is stylish, funny, depressing and downright sobering.


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