Trainspotting defined a generation and came out at a time when Britain was the thriving nucleus of a burgeoning world. The success of the movie was the fact that it perfectly captured the nasty (and real) side of addiction, and did a lot to bring awareness to poverty in the big cities and small towns. The pacing and story are brilliant, the themes still relevant, and the soundtrack is stunning. This is the perfect anti-drugs movie, and I recommend you check out these other movies similar to Trainspotting.
Best Movies Like Trainspotting
When looking for other movies like Trainspotting you’re going to want movies that explore drug culture, and the impact it can have on a community, as well as individuals. You’ll want flicks with a moral message, and, if possible, a sprinkling of humor here and there too. Check out these great options.
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Darren Aronofsky’s masterpiece works wonderfully as a companion piece to Trainspotting. Sure, it’s slicker and less gritty, but the anti-addiction message rings just as true. The fascinating thing about Requiem is that it explores the avenue that it’s not just drugs that cause addiction. It’s a difficult watch at times, but it’s also one of the most important movies of the last 25 years. While Requiem lacks the hilarity of Trainspotting and its pitch black comedy, it’s definitely a movie similar to Trainspotting in a lot of ways.
24 Hour Party People (2002)
I look at this movie as being a more glamorous version of Trainspotting. While the people in the story are richer, prettier, and more successful, they certainly share the same vices as those in Trainspotting. And the fallout and consequences for many of them are similar as well. When I was looking for films like Trainspotting, a friend introduced me to this Michael Winterbottom classic. Expect plenty of hedonism, heroism, nightclub excesses, and a great big comedown at the end of it all.
Twin Town (1997)
Not many people have heard of this flick, and I think that’s a shame – it’s the movie that made Rhys Ifans a big star. Twin Towns shares a lot of similarities with Trainspotting. In fact, it could even be considered a pseudo-sequel to the Danny Boyle classic. Following the misdemeanors of two petty-criminal addicts, as they commit crime and cross paths with gangsters, Twin Towns is a movie similar to Trainspotting in so many ways. I would actually recommend checking them out back to back just so you can understand how similar they are.
The Acid House (1998)
Another adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s work, the themes, and tones of Trainspotting are clear throughout this collection of short stories. It’s crass, ridiculous, funny, and disjointed, but The Acid House is certainly worth a look and was a movie riding on the coattails of Trainspotting. Though the short story format doesn’t always work, the movie, like Trainspotting, gives us an unflinching glimpse into the lives of those who live with poverty, crime, and addiction. And, for that reason, it’s definitely worth a look.
The Basketball Diaries (1995)
If you’ve not seen this Leonardo DiCaprio flick about heroin and cocaine addiction at a young age. The movie follows the life of budding basketball player (and future musician and author) Jim Carroll, and his spiral into addiction. The Basketball Diaries definitely has the pathos aspect of Trainspotting absolutely nailed and gives us a glimpse of a life, and future, forever tarnished by drug abuse. It lacks the humor of Trainspotting, but it’s still worth a watch and is definitely an underrated gem.
When it came out, Trainspotting was lauded as one of the most important movies of its time, and it still is. It’s sometimes a difficult watch, but it is visually iconic and has some moments that are truly hilarious. If you’re looking for other movies similar to Trainspotting that you can watch, I reckon this list has some pretty great shouts! Choose life, choose these movies!