Trainspotting returns: these are the coolest movie gangs of all time
After more than two decades away, director Danny Boyle has got the band back together for one last hurrah on the big screen. Once fresh-faced and full of energy, this cult clique have now been weathered by middle age, but can’t resist the lure of the criminal underworld.
Along with Rent Boy, Spud, Begbie and Sick Boy, we’ve chosen some other famous, and infamous, gangs from film history.
- Reservoir Dogs
- Ocean’s Eleven
- Lord of the Rings
- Guardians of the Galaxy
Who? Mark Renton / Rent Boy (Ewan McGregor), Spud (Ewen Bremner), Begbie (Robert Carlyle) and Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller)
What’s the film about? A group of young Scottish men from a poor suburb of Edinburgh spend their days shooting up heroin, until one day Renton decides to jack it in. Trainspotting was a zeitgeist-capturing film from the Britpop era in the mid-1990s, boasting an iconic soundtrack and memorable, dream-like sequences.
Leader of the pack: Renton narrates the story, with his endless struggle with his addiction to heroin the central focus. The role acted as a springboard to a glittering Hollywood career for Ewan McGregor.
Key scene: When Renton cheats his friends by snatching £16,000 from a drug deal in order to escape to live a stable, traditional life.
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Who? Mr White (Harvey Keitel), Mr. Orange (Tim Roth), Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen), Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi), Mr. Blue (Eddie Bunker), Mr. Brown (Quentin Tarantino), Nice Guy Eddie (Chris Penn), Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney)
What’s the film about? The much-celebrated directorial debut of Quentin Tarantino, Reservoir Dogs tells the story of six professional gangsters with curious pseudonyms, who team-up to perform a robbery. As their masterplan is botched, they turn on each other like wild dogs.
Leader of the pack: The psychopathic Mr. Blonde, stoically played by Michael Madsen, is perhaps the most charismatic killer in the movie. He famously kidnaps a policeman and cut’s off his ear.
Key scene: During the aforementioned torture session in a disused warehouse, Mr. Blonde appears completely at ease, committing his violent deeds to a soundtrack of “Stuck in the Middle with You” by Stealers Wheel.
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Who? Danny Ocean (George Clooney), Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon), Turk Malloy (Scott Caan), Virgil Malloy (Casey Affleck), Livingston Dell (Eddie Jemison), Yen (Shaobo Qin), Frank Catton (Bernie Mac), Saul Bloom (Carl Reiner), Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould), Bashar Tarr (Don Cheadle)
What’s the film about? Ex-con Danny Ocean rounds up ten of his chums to raid three of the largest casinos in Las Vegas. This is a fun rollercoaster ride of a movie, with razor-sharp dialogue and great chemistry between actors.
Leader of the pack: Although the head of the team is officially Danny Ocean, Rusty Ryan is the brains behind the coup. Brad Pitt plays this very slick professional criminal who exudes coolness – with a penchant for fast food.
Key scene: In a poignant scene after the heist, the gang meets again by the beautiful water fountains in front of the Bellagio before going their separate ways, to the sound of Debussy’s Clair de Lune.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Who? Frodo (Elijah Wood), Sam(Sean Astin), Merry (Dominic Monaghan), Pippin (Billy Boyd), Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Gandalf (Ian McKellen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), Boromir (Sean Bean)
What’s the film about? Set in Middle-earth, the tyrant Sauron is seeking the One Ring, which has found its way into the hands of young hobbit Frodo Baggins. Frodo gathers eight companions who form the Fellowship of the Ring and begin their journey to Mount Doom in the land of Mordor – the only place where the Ring can be destroyed.
Leader of the pack: Wise old Gandalf has a lifetime’s worth of expertise and holds the gang together as everyone respects him. It’s unsurprising that shortly after his “death” in the mines of Moria, factions emerge as some members of the group allow themselves to be corrupted by the Ring.
Key scene: Boromir tries to take the Ring and attacks Frodo, who decides to travel to Mordor alone. This causes the community to split. Eventually Boromir comes to his senses, but he dies while trying to rescue Merry and Pippin from the Orcs.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Who? Peter Quill / Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), Groot (Vin Diesel)
What’s the film about? In a remote galaxy, outsider Peter Quill join forces with a group of extraterrestrial misfits who are fleeing after stealing a powerful artefact. They work together to combat a dangerous threat. This Marvel Studios film has become something of a cult classic since its release in 2014, with a sequel due in May 2017.
Leader of the pack: As the owner of the gang’s space vehicle of choice, the Milano ship, Quill is the captain of the Guardians. However, the moral centre of the group is Groot.
Key scene: Though he spends much of the film as a heroic, tree-like humanoid, Groot sacrifices himself for the group in the final battle, and returns as a small plant.