567 user 138 critic

Trainspotting (1996)

R | | Drama | 9 August 1996 (USA)
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.



(based on the novel by), (screenplay)
768 ( 164)
Top Rated Movies #156 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 23 wins & 33 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mr. Renton
Pauline Lynch ...
Stuart McQuarrie ...
Dale Winton ...
Game Show Host


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


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 »



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:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

9 August 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ferrovipathes  »


Box Office


$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


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


In one scene in London, while Renton is "visited" by Begbie, he's reading a book about actor Montgomery Clift who had lots of experiences with drugs and medication of all kinds. See more »


After Renton's court arraignment when he gets high and is enveloped by the red carpet, he has no belt. But once Mother Superior drags him to the street he's now wearing a belt. See more »


[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 »


Referenced in Banzai Motherfucker! (2006) See more »


Hertzlich Tut Mich Verlangan
Performed by Gábor Lehotka
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach (as JS Bach)
Courtesy of Laserlight KPM
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

I don't see what most of the fuss is about, honestly.
7 September 2009 | by See all my reviews

Judging by the high rating the other users of this site have bestowed on this film, I guess some people might say I'm off my rocker to rate it a mere 6, but hey...what can I say? Everyone's entitled to their own opinion. And in mine, I can't help but feel this movie is a bit overrated.

Let me start by saying I like movies in this sub-genre. As an ex-drug abuser myself, I find solace in watching fictional characters struggle with an affliction that was once part of my own life, and there's a sort of therapy involved there that seems to make one feel as if someone, even a fictional someone, at least understands the pain an addict goes through. I also just plain like raw, dark, and gritty movies. I'm not a "Mary Poppins" or "The Sound of Music" kind of guy, and any movie that sheds light on the seedy underbelly of society is okay in my book. Sure, the message is often bleak and depressing, but at least it's not contributing to the lie that mainstream movies try to sell, where everything is cute, life is wonderful, the bad guys always get punished, and any conflict is wrapped up with a nice little bow in the end.

With that being said, I went into "Trainspotting" fully prepared to feast on the dark nature of the film and find myself immersed in a cast of characters that I could relate to. But I was sadly disappointed. Things started off well enough: I loved Ewan McGregor's opening monologue, describing the pointless, cliché choices we as civilized humans tend to make in regards to our lives...as if we're all just drones, doing whatever society tells us we should do. I know that I can personally relate to feeling like this at many points in my life. But sadly, it was all downhill from there.

If I had to point out any one, main problem with the movie, it was my lack of attachment to any of the central characters. I felt unable to sympathize, or ever really care what happened to any of them. And in a movie like this, such a thing is critical. The cast was all fine and dandy, so it was nothing to do with that, but I just felt...detached. I think it might have had something to do with the fact that from the moment we are introduced to these characters, they're all already drug addicts. Part of the impact of these sort of films, for me anyway, is being able to witness the fall from grace...to see a good life gutted and destroyed by drug abuse. But as it stands, we never get a glimpse of what life was like -before- these characters were all on drugs, and to me that leaves a bit of a void.

And for however "dark" one may think the film is, I personally didn't find it all that bleak. "Requiem for a Dream" (my personal favorite movie about drug addiction of all time) makes this look somewhat childish in comparison. That's not to say that there aren't dark moments in the film, because there are, and when they do it hit, they leave an impact. But overall, I felt more emphasis was placed on the weirdness of the characters, and some of them were a little too much for me to handle.

The film is surprisingly void of any intense drama, which I sort of expected considering the subject matter. I realize this was probably intentional and done to avoid being "cliche", but I could have done with a little more intensity and drama.

This bland feeling overpowered me through most of the movie, and I found myself checking the running time to see how much time had elapsed, which is usually always a bad sign while watching any movie. I have to say the film did redeem itself in the end, and probably made me add another star to it than I normally would have. I really liked the outcome of the story, which makes it a shame that both the beginning and end caps of the film were filled with what was in between.

I realize I'm going against the grain here with this review, but I see no point in hailing this as some sort of modern masterpiece when personally I don't see it myself. Maybe I just have bad taste, but I feel it pays to be honest in these matters, and I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon and call this a fantastic movie when I don't really believe it is. Something about it felt empty to me, and it wasn't nearly as impacting as I had hoped it would be. It's no "Requiem for a Dream", that's for sure.

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