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Total Recall (1990)

R  |   |  Action, Sci-Fi  |  1 June 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 226,839 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 383 user | 190 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?



(short story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale") (as Phillip K. Dick) , (screen story), 5 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »



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


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


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


Action | Sci-Fi


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

1 June 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El vengador del futuro  »

Box Office


$65,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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


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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints) (4 channels)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Arnold Schwarzenegger was originally going to play the title role in RoboCop (1987), but problems with the costume caused producers to drop the idea. After Schwarzenegger saw "RoboCop", he said that he loved the movie and wanted to work with director Paul Verhoeven. When he and Verhoeven heard about "Total Recall", they decided to work on that. See more »


When Lori attacks Quaid in their house, the fake knife bends and its obviously made out of rubber. See more »


[first lines]
[Doug awakens from a nightmare]
Lori: Doug? Honey, are you all right?
Lori: You were dreaming. Doug? Was it about Mars?
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 »


Referenced in This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006) See more »


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

Verhoeven bonkers adaptation of a P. K. Dick story.
20 April 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Doug Quaid keeps getting recurring dreams about a visit to Mars. In spite of his friends warnings, he decides to have a memory implanted Mars holiday. But during the implantation he remembers being a secret agent who is fighting evil Mars boss Vilos Cohaagen. Things are about to go very intergalactic bonkers indeed.

Total Recall finds director Paul Verhoeven on particularly OTT form, with the often maligned director cranking up the action and violence to the max. So then, who better to play out the carnage than the big Austrian oak himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger? It was actually Schwarzenegger who brought Verhoeven into the picture. The idea for the film had been kicking around for years, a number of director's came and went, David Cronenberg famously worked on a screenplay for a year only to have it jettisoned for being too close to the P. K. Dick short story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale". The makers wanted a high energy sci-fi blockbuster, a star vehicle for Schwarzenegger, and Verhoeven was only too happy to oblige.

Total Recall is a fascinating concept as we find ourselves wondering what in fact is reality? Quaid himself is never quite sure as the film takes a delicious twist at the midpoint to further compound the confusion, but in true Verhoeven style, it all comes crashing together in a giant ball of bangs, crashes and explosions. It should be noted that the film is far removed from the cerebral essence of Dick's story, and really when one saw that Schwarzenegger was to star in a Verhoeven directed adaptation, one really should be prepared for the high octane brain dumb down that Total Recall is. Something which was beyond some highbrow critics who are still baffled by the gargantuan financial success of the film (it made over $260 million worldwide).

Fleshing out the cast are a stoic reliable bunch. Rachael Ticotin, Ronny Cox, Sharon Stone & Michael Ironside deliver the expected tongue in cheek professionalism. While the effects prove to be a mixture of the poor and the decent; tho it's nice to see the often lost art of model work being of a pretty high standard. All of which leaves me personally with a film that I find to be a hugely enjoyable piece of uber violent popcorn fodder. 8/10

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Recent Posts
How did ReKall get an image of Melina? Citizen56
what was Cohaagens plan? jt-294
proof that the whole movie never happened...? dev850
Dream or real? Verylegendary
Proof it is a dream (no, it has nothing to do with Melina) jt-294
Come on Total Recall lovers. Can you get 100% in this little quiz? cottinghamster
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