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Total Recall (1990)

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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 196,552 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 365 user | 178 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?

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(short story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale"), (screen story), 5 more credits »
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Title: Total Recall (1990)

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

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Cast

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

Taglines:

What would you do if someone stole your mind? See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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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  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The short story on which it was based was first optioned in 1974, 16 years before the film finally was released. See more »

Goofs

The two moons of Mars appear in several background shots, but they are incorrectly depicted. They are both shown as being much larger than they would appear in real life - Phobos would appear to be about a third of the size of the moon, and Deimos as little larger than a star. In addition, Phobos revolves around Mars faster than Mars rotates, so it would appear to rise in the west and set in the east, and should have moved visibly with respect to Deimos even from one shot to the next. The two moons are always shown in the same relative positions, however. 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 Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Mutant Dancing
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

 
A bit dated 20 years later, but an exciting action thriller with a strong core
8 November 2010 | by (IL, USA) – See all my reviews

"Total Recall" might not be timeless as far as filmmaking goes, but it's certainly a hard movie to forget. "RoboCop" director Paul Verhoeven's take on the Phillip K. Dick story "We Can Remember it For You Wholesale" serves as the perfect snapshot of what late '80s America thought the future would look like -- a "Mad Max" society on Mars and lots of communicating video screens. Part of this memorability comes from cheap methods such as gross-out visual effects and three-breasted prostitutes, but credit also belongs to a story full of roller coaster twists.

Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Douglas Quaid, a man with a seemingly loving wife (Sharon Stone), who has vivid dreams about Mars, a planet that has been colonized by America and is at the center of a military controversy. Quaid becomes intrigued by a service that offers the implantation of vacation memories so that one can recall having been somewhere and experienced something without having to take the time to go through it. But instead of getting a nice vacation, the process goes wrong for Quaid and suddenly his friend at work and his wife are not who he thought they were -- and neither is he.

Turns out Quaid was a skilled operative who had his memory tampered with previously and his "former self" sent him a message to go back to Mars because he has memories that hold the key to the undoing of the evil General Cohaagen who is oppressing those living on Mars.

Mars is a circus sideshow in Las Vegas in this film. There's prostitution and horrendously scarred individuals. Oh, and dwarfs. Needless to say, the vision Verhoeven has for the future is not a very politically correct one and a bit excessive on vice and strangeness only for the sake of being just so. The meat of "Total Recall" lies not in the sci-fi future world the story takes place in, but more in the mystery of who Quaid (or Hauser) actually is.

Schwarzenegger is still best suited for playing a machine or straight-up action hero not to be taken seriously, so "Total Recall" might not be the best fit, but he's probably better than most would give him credit for. He doesn't really hurt the film in any way.

It seems like "Total Recall" was Verhoeven's attempt to make a visual effects spectacle because he simply had the money thanks to Arnold's star power. Although the story intrigues beyond a doubt, this is not the sci-fi thinker that "Blade Runner' was. Why else would there be so many special effects shots of people's faces puffing up in the vacuum of space?

"Total Recall" would easily land on my list of decent films that could be remade and done better, particularly in terms of themes and social relevancy. In the late '80s, these effects were all the rage. Now that cinema has grown up and the average filmmaker with a bit of cash could make the effects of the film happen, it could actually survive as more than a thriller. Hard to blame a film 20 years outside of its context for doing something like that, so I think it just shows the potential for Dick's story to endure as a film.

~Steven C

Visit my site http://moviemusereviews.com


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