- For quotations from the novel, see Irvine Welsh.
- 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 leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life . . . But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life: I chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you've got heroin?
- People think it's all about misery and desperation and death and all that shite, 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. Take the best orgasm you ever had, multiply it by a thousand and you're still nowhere near it. When you're on junk you have only one worry: scoring. When you're off it you are suddenly obliged to worry about all sorts of other shite. Got no money: can't get pished. Got money: drinking too much. Can't get a bird: no chance of a ride. Got a bird: too much hassle. You have to worry about bills, about food, about some football team that never fucking wins, about human relationships and all the things that really don't matter when you've got a sincere and truthful junk habit.
- [explaining the gaps in his employment history] Yes, I can. The truth -- well, the truth is that I've had a long-standing problem with heroin addiction. I've been known to sniff it, smoke it, swallow it, stick it up my arse and inject it into my veins. I've been trying to combat this addiction, but unless you count social security scams and shoplifting, I haven't had a regular job in years. I feel it's important to mention this.
- Young Renton noticed the haste with which the successful in the sexual sphere, as in all others, segregated themselves from the failures.
- 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 people hate the English, I don't. They're just wankers. We, on the other hand, are colonized by wankers. We can't even find a decent culture to be colonized by. We are ruled by effete arseholes. 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!
- At, or around this time, Spud, Sick Boy and I made a healthy, informed, democratic decision to get back on heroin as soon as possible.
- No thank you. I'll proceed directly to the intravenous injection of hard drugs please.
- There was no such thing as society and even if there was, I most certainly had nothing to do with it. (Himself quoting Margaret Thatcher, from Women's Own magazine, October 31 1987.)
- We called him Mother Superior on account of the length of his habit.
- Begbie didn't do drugs either. He just did people. That's what he got off on; his own sensory addiction.
- Swanney taught us to adore and respect the National Health Service, for it was the source of much of our gear. We stole drugs. We stole prescriptions or bought them, sold them, swapped them, forged them, photocopied them. Or traded drugs with cancer victims, alcoholics, old-age pensioners, AIDS patients, epileptics, and bored housewives.
- Thank you, your honor. With God's help I'll conquer this terrible affliction.
- I fantasize about a massive, pristine convenience. Brilliant gold taps, virginal white marble, a seat carved from ebony, a cistern full of Chanel Number 5, and a flunky handing me pieces of raw silk toilet roll. But under the circumstances I'll settle for anywhere.
- One thousand years from now there'll be no guys and no girls, just wankers. Sounds great to me. It's just a pity no none told Begbie.
- The downside of coming off junk was I knew I would need to mix with my friends again in a state of full consciousness. It was awful. They reminded me so much of myself, I could hardly bear to look at them. Take Sick Boy, for instance. He came off junk at the same time as me, not because he wanted to - you understand - but just to annoy me. Just to show me how easily he could do it, thereby downgrading my own struggle. Sneaky fucker, don't you think ?
- Living like this, is a full-time business.
- It seems, however, I really am the luckiest guy in the world. Several years of addiction right in the middle of an epidemic, surrounded by the living dead. But not me. I'm negative. It's official. And once the pain goes away, that's when the real battle starts. Depression, boredom . . . You feel so fucking low, you want to fucking top yourself.
- [narrating] Heroin makes you constipated. The heroin from my last hit was fading, and the suppositories had yet to melt. [moans loudly, doubles over] I'm no longer constipated.
- Now I've justified this to myself in all sorts of ways. It wasn't a big deal, just a minor betrayal. Or we'd outgrown each other, you know, that sort of thing. But let's face it, I ripped them off - my so called mates. But Begbie, I couldn't give a shit about him. And Sick Boy, well he'd done the same to me, if he'd only thought of it first. And Spud, well okay, I felt sorry for Spud - he never hurt anybody. So why did I do it? I could offer a million answers - all false. The truth is that I'm a bad person. But, that's gonna change - I'm going to change. This is the last of that sort of thing. Now I'm cleaning up and I'm moving on, going straight and choosing life. I'm looking forward to it already. I'm gonna 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 to the day you die.
- This was to be my final hit. But let´s be clear about this. There are final hits and final hits. What kind was this to be?
- It beats any meat injection. That beats any fucking cock in the world.
- [weeping] Give us a shot Rents. I really need a hit.
- Nobody move! That lassie got glassed, and no cunt leaves here till we find out what cunt did it!
- [appears in Renton's hallucination] Well, this is a good fucking laugh, ain't it? You sweat that shite out of your system. 'Cause if I come back and it's still here... I'll fucking kick it out. [takes the cigarette out of his mouth] Okay? [makes a grin at Renton]
- [while pointing the gun replica at Renton] Armed robbery? With a replica? I mean, how the fuck can it be an armed robbery with a replica!? [clicks the gun four times]
- [watching a horse race on T.V.] Come on, son! Come on, son! Come on! Come on..! YEA-A-A-AH!! YEA-A-A-AH!! BA-A-A-A-AD BO-O-O-O-OY!!
- [while destroying the hotel room] BASTARD!!!
- [appears in Renton's hallucination] Better than sex, Rents. Better than sex. The ultimate hit. I'm a fucking adult, I can find out for myself. Well, I'm finding out all right.
- Do you find that this approach usually works, or, let me guess, you've never tried it before. In fact, you don't normally approach girls, am I right? The truth is that you're a quiet, sensitive type, but if I'm prepared to take a chance I might just get to know the inner you: witty, adventurous, passionate, loving, loyal, a little bit crazy, a little bit bad, but, hey, don't us girls just love that?
- [voice over] "Dear Mark, I'm glad you found a job and somewhere to live. School is fine at the moment. I'm not pregnant, but thanks for asking. You friend Sick Boy came to me and asked if I'd like to work for for him, but I told him where to go. Spud asked me to send you his regards, or at least that's what he said. No one has seen Tommy for ages, and finally, Francis Begbie has been on television a lot this week, as he is wanted by the police in connection with an armed robbery in a jeweler's in Corstorphine. Take care, yours with love, Diane." [as Renton looks at the front of the letter] "Francis Begbie."
- Diane: [as she sees Renton, Spud, and Sick Boy shoplifting] Hello there, Mark. What are you doing? You didn't tell me you were a thief.
- Spud: [laughing] Hey, go easy, lady. The boy's got a habit to support.
- Sick Boy: Opium doesn't just grow on trees, you know!
- Sick Boy: It's certainly a phenomenon in all walks of life.
- Mark: What do you mean?
- Sick Boy: Well, at one time, you've got it, and then you lose it, and it's gone forever. All walks of life: George Best, for example. Had it, lost it. Or David Bowie, or Lou Reed.
- Mark: Lou Reed, some of his solo stuff's not bad.
- Sick Boy: No, it's not bad, but it's not great either. And in your heart you kind of know that although it sounds all right, it's actually just shite.
- Mark: So who else?
- Sick Boy: Charlie Nicholas, David Niven, Malcolm McLaren, Elvis Presley . . .
- Mark: OK, OK, so what's the point you're trying to make?
- Sick Boy: All I'm trying to do, Mark, is help you understand that The Name of The Rose is merely a blip on an otherwise uninterrupted downward trajectory.
- Mark: What about The Untouchables?
- Sick Boy: I don't rate that at all.
- Mark: Despite the Academy Award?
- Sick Boy: That means fuck all. It's a sympathy vote.
- Mark: Right. So we all get old and then we can't hack it anymore. Is that it?
- Sick Boy: Yeah.
- Mark: That's your theory?
- Sick Boy: Yeah. Beautifully fucking illustrated.
- Begbie: Look, I'm not a fucking buftie, and that's the end of it!
- Mark "Rent-boy" Renton: Well, let's face it, it could've been wonderful.
- Begbie: [growls with anger, flicks his cigarette at Renton; he holds him to the wall by the neck] Fucking listen to me, you piece of junkie shit. A joke's a fucking joke. You mention that again, and I'll cut you up! [he pins the knife to the wall, close to Renton's midsection] You understand?
- Begbie: Did you bring the cards?
- Sick Boy: What?
- Begbie: The cards, the last thing I told you was to mind the cards!
- Sick Boy: Well, I've not brought them.
- Begbie: It's fucking boring after a while without the cards.
- Sick Boy: I'm sorry.
- Begbie: Bit fucking late, like.
- Sick Boy: Why didn't you bring them?
- Begbie: 'CAUSE I FUCKING TOLD YOU TO BRING THEM, YOU DOSS CUNT!
- Sick Boy: ...Christ.
[as Begbie, Sick Boy, and Renton are having fish and chips]
- Sick Boy: Good chips.
- Mark "Rent Boy" Renton: I can't believe you did that.
- Sick Boy: I got a good price for it. Rents, I need the money.
- Mark "Rent Boy" Renton: IT WAS MY FUCKING TELLY!
- Sick Boy: Christ, if I knew you were gonna get so humpty about it, I wouldn't have bothered. Fucking rented anyway. [looks at Renton's food] You gonna eat that? [takes a strip of fried fish from Renton] Have you got a passport?
- Mark "Rent Boy" Renton: Why?
- Sick Boy: I met this bloke. Runs a hotel, a brothel. Loads of contacts. Does a nice sideline in punting British passports to foreigners. Get you a good price.
- Mark "Rent Boy" Renton: And why would I want to sell my passport?
- Sick Boy: It was just an idea.
- Mark "Rent-boy" Renton: What's on the menu this evening, Sir?
- Mother Superior: Your favorite dish.
- Mark "Rent-boy" Renton: Excellent.
- Mother Superior: Your usual table, Sir.
- Mark "Rent-boy" Renton: Oh, why thank you.
- Mother Superior: Would Sir care to pay for his bill in advance?
- Mark "Rent-boy" Renton: No. Stick it on my tab.
- Mother Superior: Ah, regret to inform, sir, credit limit was reached and breached quite some time ago.
- Mark "Rent-boy" Renton: Oh, well in that case...
[hands him some cash]
- Mother Superior: Ah, hard currency! Thank you, Sir! Can't be too careful these days! Would Sir care for a starter of some garlic bread perhaps?
- Mark "Rent-boy" Renton: No, thank you. I will proceed directly to the intravenous injection of hard drugs, please.
- Mark "Rent-boy" Renton: Gonna get it right this time. Gonna get it sorted out, get off it for good.
- Swanney: I've heard that one before.
- Mark "Rent-boy" Renton: The Sick Boy method.
[flash on Sick Boy on the nod]
- Swanney: Well, it nearly worked for him, hey.
- Mark "Rent-boy" Renton: Well, he's always been lacking in moral fiber.
- Swanney: He knows a lot about Sean Connery.
- Mark "Rent-boy" Renton: That's hardly a substitute.
- Sick Boy: [Sean Connery accent] Do you shee the beasht? Have you got it in your shights?
- Mark "Rent-boy" Renton: [aiming the pellet gun at a dog] Clear enough, Missh Moneypenny! This should preshent no shignificant problemsh!
[shoots the dog which starts attacking its owner]
- Sick Boy: For a vegetarian, Rents, you're a fuckin' EVIL shot!
- Sick Boy: So he met me. I offered to take it off his hands at a very reasonable price with the intention of punting it off myself to a guy I know in London.
- Mark "Rent-Boy" Renton: We've just come back from Tommy's funeral and you are talking about a skag deal?
- Francis: Aye...
- Begbie: Pop down the bookies and put a line on for us.
- Renton: Can you not go yourself?
- Begbie: Well, seeing as I´m a fugitive from the law, and I can´t even walk the fucking streets, you go! [grabs some small change and gives it to Renton] Doncaster. 4:40. 5 Pounds to win. Bad Boy. [sips some beer and spits it on the floor] Fucking buy some fucking beer and all.
- 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?
- Never let your friends tie you to the tracks.
- Ewan McGregor - Renton
- Ewen Bremner - Spud
- Jonny Lee Miller - Sick Boy
- Kevin McKidd - Tommy
- Robert Carlyle - Begbie
- Kelly Macdonald - Diane
- Irvine Welsh - Mikey Forrester