MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 88 this week

Total Recall (1990)

 -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi  -  1 June 1990 (USA)
7.5
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 199,506 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 368 user | 181 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

When a man goes for virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real, or does he?

Director:

Writers:

(short story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale"), (screen story), 5 more credits »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $7.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Picks: October

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they are excited to see in October.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 33 titles
created 25 Apr 2011
 
a list of 21 titles
created 21 Aug 2011
 
a list of 49 titles
created 31 Aug 2011
 
a list of 40 titles
created 08 Sep 2011
 
a list of 25 titles
created 8 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Total Recall" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Total Recall (1990)

Total Recall (1990) on IMDb 7.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Total Recall.

User Polls

Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Predator (1987)
Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A team of commandos, on a mission in a Central American jungle, find themselves hunted by an extra-terrestrial warrior.

Director: John McTiernan
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Kevin Peter Hall
True Lies (1994)
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A fearless, globe-trotting, terrorist-battling secret agent has his life turned upside down when he discovers his wife might be having an affair with a used car salesman.

Director: James Cameron
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold
Action | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Humans in a fascistic, militaristic future do battle with giant alien bugs in a fight for survival.

Director: Paul Verhoeven
Stars: Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meyer
Commando (1985)
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A retired elite Black Ops Commando launches a one man war against a group of South American criminals who have kidnapped his daughter to blackmail him into starting a revolution and getting an exiled dictator back into power.

Director: Mark L. Lester
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rae Dawn Chong, Dan Hedaya
Total Recall I (2012)
Action | Adventure | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A factory worker, Douglas Quaid, begins to suspect that he is a spy after visiting Rekall - a company that provides its clients with implanted fake memories of a life they would like to have led - goes wrong and he finds himself on the run.

Director: Len Wiseman
Stars: Colin Farrell, Bokeem Woodbine, Bryan Cranston
Action | Crime | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A wrongly convicted man must try to survive a public execution gauntlet staged as a game show.

Director: Paul Michael Glaser
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Conchita Alonso, Yaphet Kotto
RoboCop (1987)
Action | Crime | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories.

Director: Paul Verhoeven
Stars: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy
Action | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A human-looking indestructible cyborg is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.

Director: James Cameron
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn
Twins (1988)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A physically perfect but innocent man goes in search of his long-lost twin brother, who is a short small-time crook.

Director: Ivan Reitman
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito, Kelly Preston
Eraser (1996)
Action | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A Witness Protection specialist becomes suspicious of his co-workers when dealing with a case involving high-tech weapons.

Director: Chuck Russell
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vanessa Williams, James Caan
Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A cybernetic warrior from a post-apocalyptic future travels back in time to protect a 19-year old drifter and his future wife from an most advanced robotic assassin and to ensure they both survive a nuclear attack.

Director: Jonathan Mostow
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Kristanna Loken
Red Heat (1988)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A tough Russian policeman is forced to partner up with a cocky Chicago police detective when he is sent to Chicago to apprehend a Georgian drug lord who killed his partner and fled the country.

Director: Walter Hill
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Belushi, Peter Boyle
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Marshall Bell ...
...
...
Roy Brocksmith ...
...
...
...
Alexia Robinson ...
...
Mark Carlton ...
Bartender
Edit

Storyline

Douglas Quaid is haunted by a recurring dream about a journey to Mars. He hopes to find out more about this dream and buys a holiday at Rekall Inc. where they sell implanted memories. But something goes wrong with the memory implantation and he remembers being a secret agent fighting against the evil Mars administrator Cohaagen. Now the story really begins and it's a rollercoaster ride until the massive end of the movie. Written by Harald Mayr <marvin@bike.augusta.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

memory | reality | colony | planet | dream | See All (197) »

Taglines:

Get ready for the ride of your life. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 June 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El vengador del futuro  »

Box Office

Budget:

$65,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,788 (USA) (10 August 2012)

Gross:

$119,412,921 (USA) (17 August 2012)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The subway scenes were filmed in the Mexico City subway system, specifically, the "Insurgentes" station of the Line 1: Observatorio-Pantitlan. See more »

Goofs

After the fight at the construction site, Quaid rushes home. When he is turning off the lights, he flicks off individual switches, yet while fighting with Lori, he flicks on one light switch to see who he's fighting, and the room becomes completely lit. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[Doug awakens from a nightmare]
Lori: Doug? Honey, are you all right?
[nods]
Lori: You were dreaming. Doug? Was it about Mars?
[nods]
Lori: [kisses him] Is that better?
Douglas Quaid: Hmm.
Lori: My poor baby. This is getting to be an obsession.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Play the Total Recall (1990) video game by Acclaim. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Last Action Hero (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Running out of Air
Written and Performed by Bruno Louchouarn
Produced by Joe La Mont
Published by Lygon St. Music and Barney Sue Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Great action, great suspense, great cultural satire, and a great mind-bender
21 March 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Set during an unspecified future era, Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a construction worker who longs for a trip to Mars. His wife, Lori (Sharon Stone) isn't so keen on it--she'd prefer a trip to Saturn, or a space cruise. Riding on the subway one day, Quaid notices a television advertisement for a company named Rekall, which specializes in memory implants of vacations. Quaid checks into it as an alternate means of having a "Mars vacation". While at Rekall, he chooses an alternate personality upgrade of a secret agent. However, while undergoing the procedure, something goes wrong. He learns that his Quaid identity was a memory implant and he really _is_ a secret agent. Now that he has his real memory back, he's on the run and he escapes to Mars. But why is everyone after him?

Total Recall, based on "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale", a short story from 1974 by Philip K. Dick (and novelized in conjunction with the film production by Piers Anthony), had a laborious history getting to the silver screen. Tens of drafts were written. Production companies were attached then went out of business. Many directors and stars were attached who either changed their minds or who were dropped. Luckily, Arnold Schwarzenegger talked Carolco into picking up the project for him, with Paul Verhoeven--who'd already proved his mettle on the similarly toned RoboCop (1987)--on board as director, because this is an excellent film.

While Total Recall certainly has influences, including "The Martian Chronicles" (1980), Dune (1984) and the first major film based on a Philip K. Dick work, Blade Runner (1982), it's more notable for the films that it has influenced in subsequent years, including The Fifth Element (1997) and many of the "rubber reality" films such as Abre los ojos (1997)/Vanilla Sky (2001) and The Thirteenth Floor (1999). It's also yet another film on the very long list that have had various elements "adapted" into part of The Matrix (1999)--most explicitly here, the "bug" that Quaid has to remove from his body with a high-tech machine and the possibility of "waking up" from a particular reality by taking "the red pill".

Although it's easy to interpret Total Recall in a very straightforward manner, so that the bulk of what we're seeing at any particular moment and the bulk of the dialogue are the literal reality, very convincing arguments can be made that the majority of the film is a depiction of Quaid's memory implant while in the "patient's chair" at Rekall. And those certainly aren't the only two interpretations possible.

What matters more than thinking one has a "right answer", though, is the deeply captivating story that provokes our interpretations and the amount of fun we have getting there. Verhoeven and the scriptwriting team, which included Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett, the writing team behind the Alien films (beginning with Alien, 1979), never let us go very long without another plot twist, most of which force a reinterpretation of the material that went before. The twists occur about once per every ten minutes, if not more frequently.

The film is notable for its special effects by Rob Bottin, which were far ahead of their time, and its fantastic production and art design, which manage to make us feel both that we're experiencing a vicarious trip to a "future grunge" Mars and an almost "Doctor Who" (1963)-ish absurdly artificial reality, complete with supersaturated red skies, ala Frank R. Paul's illustrated covers for the Amazing Stories fiction magazine.

Some locations in Mexico were used for the film, including some subway shots on Mars, and actual commercial sign age was incorporated into the film. There's a lot of fun to be had noticing all of the cultural differences and similarities that the future era of the film will bring. Verhoeven delights in subtle glimpses of various symbols and accoutrement's. His view of the future is one full of corruption, commercialism and decadence. He doesn't have much confidence in a "bright new world" as humans spread out to new territory.

Verhoeven is basically extending the way things are now to the future; it's as if he sees our state as indicative of human nature, so that as long as we're humans, people are going to be taking advantage of one another, trying to control one another, engaging in behavior that's a conflict between desires and societal mores, but also helping out each other when the going gets tough. In these respects, Total Recall has culture-satirical similarities to later films such as Starship Troopers (1997), which isn't surprising given that Verhoeven directed both films. It's notable that Total Recall's future is not quite as bleak as Starship Trooper's.

But the film is hardly less violent. Verhoeven's initial cut was given an X by the MPAA for violence. A number of scenes had to have small edits, most of which have thankfully been restored on at least one special edition DVD. The violence here is a lot more small scale and personal than Starship Troopers. In terms of the visceral, Total Recall often rides a gray area somewhere between action and horror. While the action isn't as explosive as many Schwarzenegger films, the suspense never resolves until the end. This is an amazing thrill ride of a film.


211 of 238 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Simple Question: Best Arnold Movie Ever? muaddib042
Here's why I know the whole thing is a dream ckanelevy
Hauser's first name. dan-willi84
Campy comedy? Mickey_Bricks
One teeeeny weeeny problem... Nerd_in_Norway
Johnny Cab Driver pkryder-1
Discuss Total Recall (1990) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?