“Choose life” 20 greatest Trainspotting quotes

Choose a 20th anniversary celebration for the 90s Brit classic Trainspotting.

Ewan McGregor in TrainspottingImage Picture Film4/Polygram Pictures

Hard to believe it, but Danny Boyle’s Brit classic film Trainspotting is 20 years old today.

Two decades on and the Irvine Welsh-penned tale of Edinburgh’s heroin infestation remains a stone-cold triumph. There’s a sequel on the way, with Boyle, novelist Welsh, Ewan McGregor and the main cast all returning to film this summer.

“It’s been 20 years since we met these characters and John Hodge’s screenplay brilliantly explores what’s happened to them — and to us — in the intervening years.” Boyle said.

But will the sequel ever be able to top the trailblazing original? Boyle and crew will certainly hope so, but if these 20 iconic quotes are anything to go by they’ll have their work cut out.



On choices

“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 can openers…”


On all time highs

“I haven’t felt that good since Archie Gemmill scored against Holland in 1978.”


On being Scottish

“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 colonised by wankers.”


On rock icons

“Iggy Pop’s not dead – he toured last year.”


On heroin highs

“Take the best orgasm you’ve ever had… multiply it by a thousand, and you’re still nowhere near it.”


On romance

“And with that, Mark Renton had fallen in love.”


On life regrets

“I wished that I’d gone down instead of Spud. Here I was surrounded by my family and my so-called mates, and I’ve never felt so alone.”


On the side effects of heroin

“Heroin makes you constipated. The heroin from my last hit was fading, and the suppositories had yet to melt… I’m no longer constipated.”


On sexuality

“If you ask me, we’re heterosexual by default, not by decision. It’s just a question of who you fancy. It’s all about aesthetics and it’s fuck all to do with morality. But you try telling Begbie that.”


On the need for a quick hit

“No, thank you. I will proceed directly to the intravenous injection of hard drugs, please.”

Trainspotting poster
Choose life Choose one of the most recognisable movie posters of the 90s. Image Picture Film4/Polygram Pictures


On Sean Connery

“Goldfinger’s better than Dr No. Both of them are a lot better than Diamonds Are Forever. A judgment reflected in its relatively poor showing at the box office.”


On Swanny

“We called him Mother Superior on account of the length of his habit.”


On making an honest living

“I quite enjoyed the sound of it all. Profit, loss, margins, takeovers, lending, letting, subletting, subdividing, cheating, scamming, fragmenting, breaking away. There was no such thing as society and, even if there was, I most certainly had nothing to do with it. For the first time in my adult life I was almost content.”


On sex

“Heroin had robbed Renton of his sex drive, but now it returned with a vengeance. And as the impotence of those days faded into memory, grim desperation took hold of his sex-crazed mind.”


On the future

“1,000 years from now there will be no guys and no girls, just wankers. Sounds great to me.”


On your wildcard mate

“Begbie didn’t do drugs, either. He just did people.”


On your prescription

“We took morphine, diamorphine, cyclizine, codeine, temazepam, nitrazepam, phenobarbitone, sodium amytal, dextropropoxyphene, methadone, nalbuphine, pethidine, pentazocine, buprenorphine, dextromoramide, chlormethiazole. The streets are awash with drugs you can have for unhappiness and pain, and we took them all. Fuck it, we would have injected vitamin C if only they’d made it illegal.”


On addiction

“People think it’s all about misery and desperation and death and all that shit which is not to be ignored, but what they forget is the pleasure of it. Otherwise we wouldn’t do it. After all, we’re not fucking stupid. At least, we’re not that fucking stupid.”


On fantasy toilets

“I fantasise about a massive pristine convenience. Brilliant gold taps, virginal white marble, a seat carved from ebony, a cistern full of Chanel No 5, and a flunky handing me pieces of raw silk toilet roll. But under the circumstances I’ll settle for anywhere.”


On new beginnings

“I’m going to be just like you. The job, the family, the fucking big television. The washing machine, the car, the compact disc and electric tin opener, good health, low cholesterol, dental insurance, mortgage, starter home, leisure wear, luggage, three-piece suite, DIY, game shows, junk food, children, walks in the park, nine to five, good at golf, washing the car, choice of sweaters, family Christmas, indexed pension, tax exemption, clearing gutters, getting by, looking ahead, the day you die.”

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