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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)
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Popularity
941 ( 73)
Top Rated Movies #162 | 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:

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:

| (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

Created much controversy when it was released in the USA for its content. Senator Bob Dole charged the film with glorifying drug use, but later admitted he hadn't seen the film. See also: Priest (1994), Natural Born Killers (1994), and Kids (1995) See more »

Goofs

When Begbie strikes the seated man with the pool cue, he clearly hits the seat. The back of the chair is covered by the man's jacket and the cue hits the chair underneath the jacket. 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

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.
See more »


Soundtracks

Closet Romantic
Performed by Damon Albarn (as Albarn) / Gauld / Sidwell / Henry / Smith and The Duke Strings Quartet
Written by Damon Albarn
Published by MCA Music Ltd
Licensed by EMI Records
By Courtesy of Parlophone and EMI Special Markets UK
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Choose the best British film of the nineties
12 April 2010 | by rooeeSee all my reviews

Director Danny Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge's 1996 adaptation of Irvine Welsh's 1993 debut novel was so central to young British culture at that time that it was always in danger of being forgotten as a mere curio of a bygone Britpop era. Thankfully, good comedy leads a long life, especially the black stuff. In the meanest, wittiest way, Trainspotting said "bollocks" to Britpop - in fact, it said "bollocks" to every fad and fashion going - and so it became immortal.

Welsh's novel is, like many of his works, essentially a series of short stories bound together by a group of amiable, self-centred protagonists who share a common interest in the procurement of a life-affirming experience - in this case heroin. Unfilmable as such, Boyle and Hodge do an astonishing job of wrapping up a majority of the best Edinburgh tales in a tight 90-minute narrative. The misadventures of Renton (Ewan McGregor), Spud (Ewen Bremner) et al is alluring because their lust for life eclipses their need for skag - the physical enjoyment is never denied, and yet neither is our heroes' desire to see above and beyond the depravity and the mundanity. The film-makers are not simply allowing us to relate to these emaciated thieves - they are necessarily ensuring it.

The casting is spot-on. McGregor puts in a signature performance as the amiable Mark Renton; Bremner brings the sensitive Spud hilariously to life; Robert Carlyle is unforgettable as the monstrous Francis Begbie - a man I fear we have all met and to whose jokes we have all felt obliged to laugh. Johnny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, and feature débutant Kelly Macdonald support superbly.

What's the point of it all? you might ask. To say its simply about capturing a moment in British pop culture would be to deny the quality of its storytelling. Trainspotting is more than a zeitgeist because, for all its swagger and the brilliance of its soundtrack, it possesses an intricate, multi-taloned narrative navigated by 3D characters, more than one of whom finds his way to an uplifting and hopeful conclusion. Trainspotting is vital.


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