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)
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Popularity
714 ( 86)
Top Rated Movies #169 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 23 wins & 34 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ewen Bremner (Spud) had previously played Renton in a stage adaptation of the novel. See more »

Goofs

When Renton and Spud are in the restaurant to share a soda with 2 straws, once they finish there's one straw sticking out towards Renton, but as the camera moves between shots of them the straw is either pointed at Spud or is gone altogether. 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 »

Alternate Versions

Criterion laserdisc version and the canadian DVD release adds nine new scenes that were originally deleted from the film before release, showing:
  • additional dialogue between Sick Boy and Renton about Sean Connery and James Bond movies;
  • Spud talking about his friendship with Begbie;
  • Renton's job interview (originally intercut with Spud's interview)
  • Diane catching Renton, Spud, and Sick Boy while shoplifting
  • Renton meeting Swanney in the hospital after he's lost his leg
  • Sick Boy and Renton talking about Swanney in the park
  • Tommy discussing the virtues of Australia with Spud
  • Diane dumping Renton for a healthier guy
  • Sick Boy, Begbie, Spud, and Renton at the bus station before leaving for London.
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Connections

References Goldfinger (1964) 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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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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 August 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Trainspotting See more »

Filming Locations:

City of London, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP1,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$262,673, 21 July 1996

Gross USA:

$16,491,080

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$16,607,872
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
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