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Trainspotting (1996)

R | | Drama | 9 August 1996 (USA)
Trailer
1:55 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Danny Boyle

Writers:

Irvine Welsh (based on the novel by), John Hodge (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
707 ( 88)
Top Rated Movies #160 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 23 wins & 33 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ewan McGregor ... Renton
Ewen Bremner ... Spud
Jonny Lee Miller ... Sick Boy
Kevin McKidd ... Tommy
Robert Carlyle ... Begbie
Kelly Macdonald ... Diane
Peter Mullan ... Swanney
James Cosmo ... Mr. Renton
Eileen Nicholas ... Mrs. Renton
Susan Vidler ... Allison
Pauline Lynch Pauline Lynch ... Lizzy
Shirley Henderson ... Gail
Stuart McQuarrie ... Gavin / US Tourist
Irvine Welsh ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 August 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Trainspotting See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$262,673, 21 July 1996

Gross USA:

$16,491,080

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$16,593,356
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Danny Boyle convinced Irvine Welsh to let Andrew Macdonald option the rights to his book by writing him a letter stating that they were "the two most important Scotsmen since Kenny Dalglish and Alex Ferguson". Welsh remembered that originally the people wanting to option his book "wanted to make a po-faced piece of social realism like Christiane F. (1981) or The Basketball Diaries (1995)". He was impressed that Boyle, Hodge and Macdonald wanted everyone to see the film and "not just the arthouse audience". See more »

Goofs

After Spud and Renton have emptied the shake, either a crew member or equipment is partially visible on the right edge of the frame. 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 »

Alternate Versions

The original UK special edition box set video was withdrawn from sale after only two days, after Polygram discovered that they had added more than the nine deleted scenes. In addition to the nine above scenes are:
  • Renton and Sick-boy setting up a rifle in the bushes of the park, whilst listening to the original avengers theme.
  • Renton laying on a stretcher in a hospital corridor, after a few moments someone tries to steal his blanket.
  • Renton's parents wheel him out of hospital.
  • Begbie arriving at Renton's London flat.
  • Begbie in Renton's flat talking about horse racing.
  • More of Spud's job interview.
  • Begbie, Spud, Sick-boy, Tommy and Renton arrive at a friend's, with the things they stole from the American tourist (red jacket, passport etc.). You then see the friend dressed in the jacket, sunglasses and cap trying to draw £500 on the American's credit card.
  • Sick-boy, Renton, Spud and Tommy on the train on their way to the countryside.
  • Renton dancing with his mother to culture club, at the club his parents go to.
  • Begbie, Sick-boy and Spud looting someone's house. Sick-boy is wearing the skull mask from the cover of the book.
  • Renton and Spud steal a TV from an old people's home. This is not edited together, but presented in 4 different takes, from three different camera angles.
  • Renton visits Swanney in hospital. Again this is not edited together, but presented in 11 different takes, from 5 different angles.
  • The deleted scene at the bus station begins with Renton giving a beggar some change; after Renton has moved on the beggar looks up and we see it is Swanney.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Long Way Round (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

A Final Hit
Performed by Leftfield
Written by Neil Barnes (as Barnes) / Paul Daley (as Daley)
Published by Hard (UK) Hands Publishing Ltd/Chrysalis Music Ltd
Courtesy of Hard Hands/Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Entertainment (UK) Ltd
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Hilarious, imaginative and very anti-drugs
20 January 2004 | by bob the mooSee 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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