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Trainspotting (1996)

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

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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
796 ( 55)
Top Rated Movies #157 | 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 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:

Never let your friends tie you to the tracks. 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:

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

Opening Weekend USA:

$262,000, 21 July 1996, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$16,501,785

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$71,558,971
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

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

Before Begbie throws the glass the woman sitting across from him is wearing tights that aren't fishnet but after he throws the glass the woman sitting across from him is wearing fishnet tights. 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

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

Alternate Versions

The first 20 minutes of the film had some re-dubbing for the USA release to make the dialogue more intelligible for American audiences. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #21.55 (2012) 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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One of the best films ever - a lot of people missed the point
27 September 2005 | by MovieAddict2016See all my reviews

It's ironic that I'm saying "many people missed the point" because I did, too. My original review on IMDb gave the film a negative rating. I deleted it months ago because I have since purchased the Director's Cut on DVD and fallen in love with it.

The movie is energetic, imaginative and unique. It's taken from Irvine Welsh's novel, which I now really want to read. It's about a group of heroin addicts (led by Ewan McGregor's Renton) in Scotland who can't seem to live past their addiction...everything centers around drugs.

"Trainspotting" was condemned for promoting drug use, but I agree with fellow reviewer Bob the Moo who claims this was a misinterpretation on the media's behalf - yeah, it may show drugs as being "funny" at times (like Renton's wacky hallucination) but it certainly doesn't glamorize them. Some of the sequences are sickeningly realistic and depressing - like the scene with the baby. That's tragic stuff, and totally unexpected. It's also effective because by that point in the film we care about the characters enough for it to affect us on an emotional level.

The movie was really popular in the UK but never got much acclaim overseas. Americans in general will always be less liberal and be quicker to damn films for their messages. "Taxi Driver" was hailed by Europeans in '76...can't really say the same for US critics - it was a huge split in opinion at the time.

Ditto here. Most Americans didn't really "get it" and the only attention it received was the controversy surrounding the appearance of Mr. McGregor's genitalia. Oh, the humanity! If you haven't seen "Trainspotting" yet, I highly recommend it. Don't be turned off at first by its bleak humor and sick content - I won't lie, it IS a rough ride...but by the end, it's worth it.


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