Trainspotting (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

Trainspotting (1996)



Critic Consensus: A brutal, often times funny, other times terrifying portrayal of drug addiction in Edinburgh. Not for the faint of heart, but well worth viewing as a realistic and entertaining reminder of the horrors of drug use.

Movie Info

Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor), a young man with few prospects and fewer ambitions, lives in economically depressed Edinburgh. Like most of his friends, Renton is a heroin addict who loves the drug's blissful nothingness; financing his habit also provides excitement and challenges that his life otherwise lacks. Renton's two best friends are also junkies: Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), a snappy dresser obsessed with James Bond, and Spud (Ewan Bremner), a guileless nerd who suggests Pee Wee Herman's debauched cousin. Renton and his pals also hang out with Begbie (Robert Carlyle), a borderline psychotic who loathes junkies even though he drinks like a fish. After one too many brushes with the law, Renton kicks heroin and moves to London, where he finds a job, a flat, and something close to peace of mind. However, Sick Boy, Begbie, and Spud all arrive at his doorstep on the trail of a big score, leading Renton back into drugs and crime. ~ Mark Deming, Rovimore
Rating: R (for graphic heroin use and resulting depravity, strong language, sex, nudity and violence)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: John Hodge
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 24, 1998
Miramax Films - Official Site


Ewan McGregor
as Mark Renton
Peter Mullan
as Swanney
James Cosmo
as Mr. Renton
Eileen Nicholas
as Mrs. Renton
Susan Vidler
as Allison
Stuart McQuarrie
as Gavin, U.S. tourist
Dale Winton
as Game Show Host
Kevin Allen
as Andreas
Annie Louise Ross
as Gail's Mother
Billy Riddoch
as Gail's Father
Fiona Bell
as Diane's Mother
Vincent Friell
as Diane's Father
Vincent Friel
as Diane's Father
Hugh Ross
as Man 1
Finlay Welsh
as Sheriff
Eddie Nestor
as Estate Agent
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Trainspotting

Critic Reviews for Trainspotting

All Critics (77) | Top Critics (22)

Trainspotting's saving grace is that there's a heck of a lot of entertainment value in this particular form of shallowness.

Full Review… | June 26, 2013
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Trainspotting, buoyed by a great Brit Pop soundtrack and Brian Tufano's agile cinematography, captures the stoned-out, gut-churning experience of hardcore addiction with hallucinogenic acuity.

Full Review… | June 26, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

The characters are without recognizable virtues, and neither they nor the movie asks us to like them. But they are full of energy and underplayed wit, endlessly picking themselves up off the filthy floor.

Full Review… | June 26, 2013
Top Critic

Trainspotting is a searing pop-art portrait of a lost generation blowing out its brains. As they rail, chuckle, shout and dive into darkness, you're trapped yourself between a bellylaugh and a scream.

Full Review… | June 26, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

The film is about joy -- in conniving and surviving, in connecting with audiences, in its own fizzy, jizzy style. And that's why, compared with it, most other films look zombified.

Full Review… | June 26, 2013
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

A cocktail of scuzzy charm, nerve and despair that seduces and repulses in nearly equal proportions. It packs a jolt, all right. But it leaves you with a brutal hangover, too.

Full Review… | June 26, 2013
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Trainspotting

Artistically constructed, and featuring a bravura performance from Ewan McGregor, Trainspotting craftily balances both a dark and charming tone.

Matthew Samuel Mirliani
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

5 stars

MisterYoda ?

Super Reviewer


Spend some quality time with some Edinburgh chaps who realise that life in the modern day is realistically all mapped out for them and find that it is better to while away the time and the mind in a drug induced coma, it's more honest rather than to pretend to be "making a difference" for the benefit of some wankers who could give a shitte. Are they wrong? Often overblown, but fun telling of life in less touristy parts of Edinburgh.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Trainspotting Quotes

Sick Boy: All I'm trying to do is help you understand that The Name of the Rose is merely a blip on an otherwise uninterrupted downward trajectory.
Mark Renton: What about The Untouchables?
Sick Boy: I don't rate that at all.
Mark Renton: Despite the Academy Award?
Sick Boy: That means fuck all. The sympathy vote.
– Submitted by Sebastian C (3 years ago)
Mark Renton: Straight away he clocked us for what we were. Small-time wasters with an accidental big deal.
– Submitted by Ann A (3 years ago)
Mark Renton: Sick Boy is seriously lacking in moral fiber.
Dealer: But he knows a lot about Sean Connery.
Mark Renton: That's hardly a substitute.
– Submitted by Ann A (3 years ago)
Mark Renton: : It's SHITE being Scottish! We're the lowest of the low. The scum of the fucking Earth! The most wretched, miserable, servile, pathetic trash that was ever shat into civilization. Some hate the English. I don't. They're just wankers. We, on the other hand, are COLONIZED by wankers. Can't even find a decent culture to be colonized BY. We're ruled by effete assholes. It's a SHITE state of affairs to be in, Tommy, and ALL the fresh air in the world won't make any fucking difference.
– Submitted by Milena K (3 years ago)

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