8.2/10
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Trainspotting (1996)

R | | Drama | 9 August 1996 (USA)
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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(based on the novel by), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Mr. Renton
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Pauline Lynch ...
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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:

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Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 August 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ferrovipathes  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£4,703,433 (United Kingdom), 15 March 1996

Opening Weekend USA:

$262,000, 21 July 1996, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$16,501,785, 15 December 1996
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The "Choose Life" monologue was originally planned for the middle of the film. Danny Boyle and his writer John Hodge were struggling to find a suitable opening when they hit on the idea of moving the monologue to the beginning. An iconic moment was born by that one simple act. See more »

Goofs

When Mark leaves the money for Spud, it is in the middle of the locker and parallel to the locker walls, but when Spud retrieves it the money is crooked and off-center. 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 ...
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Crazy Credits

Profile pictures of the cast are shown during the beginning of the end credits. See more »

Connections

Featured in Movie Connections: Trainspotting (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Perfect Day
Performed by Lou Reed
Words and Music by Lou Reed
Published by Screen Gems - EMI Music Ltd
Courtesy of BMG UK Ltd on behalf of BMG Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Superb
6 March 2003 | by See all my reviews

An extremely competent look at the Scottish drug-Scene, Trainspotting is a perfect example of the potential of the UK industry to tell a story of tragedy, horror and hope in a manner that the American industry has yet to do without drifting into tired Cliche. While the manner and style of delivery are extremely funny and at times appear almost unreal, the fact remains that these characters are real. The clearly psychotic and alcoholic Begbie, played by Robert Carlyle is a supporting role that is actually of immense value to the film. Here we have character who I've met, you've met and we've all met. A man with very little to lose absorbed in a sea of alcohol and prone to violence. I choose him as example because he isnt even involved in the drug-scene in which the main characters are central. In fact his opposition is somewhat humorous when we consider his own vices make him argueably worse off and the incidences of violence he becomes involved in

are most definitely black humour. Considering what is actually happening isnt funny, watching it play out, aside from one major incident, is extremely funny. And that is the tone of the film throughout, as characters continually talk nonsence and sail through the lives they have chosen, making very little progress, but instead drifting downwards until an opportunity presents itself to change their ways, where upon Renton, Ewan McGregor, must make a choice between his own life or his friends. McGregor himself is excellent in the film that made him, as is Jonny Lee Miller, who surprised me in this film by having a more thought-provoking character than the script and time strictly allowed considering his relatively minimal place in the main storyline. Ewen Bremner provided some excellent and often well-needed comic relief and Carlyle as I mentioned, was outstanding. This film is both real and unreal, taking the Humour of "Human Traffic" and the somber tone of "My name is Joe" and blending them together to create an unforgettable experience vividly accompanied by strains of "Perfect day" and other cultural and nostalgic sounds, particularly of the place and period. Trainspotting has been accused of glamourising drug-use but I firmly believe anyone who takes this view hasnt watched it properly. The fun is equally, if not more so, matched by some nasty images and for the time it was released, provided what was a very necessary look at the growing drug industry, the loss it creates and the hope that can arise. Superb.


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