Harlie Christian

Written by Harlie Christian

Modified & Updated: 01 Jun 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith

Source: Tvinsider.com

Total Recall is a classic science fiction film that captured the imaginations of audiences when it hit the big screen in 1990. Directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, the movie takes viewers on a thrilling journey through the mind of its protagonist, Douglas Quaid. Set in a dystopian future where memories can be implanted, Total Recall explores themes of identity, reality, and the blurred lines between them. With its groundbreaking special effects, intense action sequences, and mind-bending plot twists, Total Recall continues to be a beloved film among fans of the genre. In this article, we will delve into 31 fascinating facts about Total Recall, shedding light on its creation, behind-the-scenes stories, and its enduring legacy in the world of cinema.

Key Takeaways:

  • Total Recall, based on a story by Philip K. Dick, is a sci-fi classic with mind-bending themes, intense action, and cutting-edge effects, earning it a loyal fanbase and a lasting impact on pop culture.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger’s portrayal of a man questioning his identity in a futuristic world captivated audiences, leading to a successful film that continues to inspire video games and a 2012 remake.
Table of Contents

The movie Total Recall is based on a short story by Philip K. Dick titled “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”.

The story was first published in 1966 and served as the inspiration for the 1990 film Total Recall.

Total Recall was directed by Paul Verhoeven.

Known for his unique blend of action and satire, Verhoeven brought his distinctive vision to the sci-fi blockbuster.

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the lead role in Total Recall.

His portrayal of Douglas Quaid, a construction worker who discovers his true identity may not be what he thought, made the movie a cult classic.

Total Recall was released in 1990.

The film was a box office success, grossing over $261 million worldwide.

The movie takes place in the year 2084.

Set in a future where colonization of Mars is a reality, Total Recall explores the tension between Earth and the Red Planet.

Total Recall features cutting-edge special effects.

The film pushed the boundaries of visual effects technology at the time, creating stunning and realistic scenes.

The iconic three-breasted woman scene became one of the most memorable moments of the movie.

It has since become a pop culture reference and is often associated with Total Recall.

The movie’s tagline is “What if virtual memory could become real?”

This tagline reflects the central theme of the film, which explores the blurred lines between reality and illusion.

The character of Richter, portrayed by Michael Ironside, serves as Quaid’s main antagonist.

Ironside’s intense performance adds to the tension and action of the film.

Total Recall won a Special Achievement Academy Award for its visual effects.

The movie was recognized for its groundbreaking use of computer-generated imagery and practical effects.

The film’s score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith.

Goldsmith’s atmospheric and suspenseful music enhances the overall tone of the movie.

The production design of Total Recall incorporates a gritty and futuristic aesthetic.

The sets and props of the film create a believable and immersive world.

Total Recall explores themes of memory, identity, and corruption.

The movie delves into the existential questions surrounding one’s sense of self and the manipulation of memories.

The movie features intense action sequences.

From gunfights to chase scenes, Total Recall delivers adrenaline-fueled moments throughout.

Total Recall has inspired numerous video games.

The popularity and enduring legacy of the film led to the creation of several games based on its premise.

Sharon Stone plays the role of Lori, Quaid’s wife.

Her performance adds depth to the plot as her character’s true intentions are revealed.

Total Recall has a loyal fanbase.

The movie continues to garner fans who appreciate its unique blend of sci-fi, action, and thought-provoking themes.

The script for Total Recall underwent several revisions before production.

The filmmakers worked extensively to refine the story and dialogue in order to create a compelling narrative.

The movie’s opening sequence showcases the colonization of Mars.

This visually stunning sequence sets the stage for the events to come in the film.

Total Recall contains elements of both a science fiction and a thriller film.

The combination of these genres contributes to the suspense and intrigue of the story.

The character of Quaid undergoes a journey of self-discovery throughout the film.

His search for the truth about his identity serves as the driving force behind the plot.

Total Recall features fast-paced editing and dynamic cinematography.

The visual style of the film adds to its overall energy and excitement.

The movie raises ethical questions surrounding memory alteration and manipulation.

It delves into the ethical implications of tampering with one’s memories and the consequences that arise from it.

Total Recall was a collaboration between American and Dutch filmmakers.

The combined efforts of both teams resulted in a unique blend of styles and perspectives.

The film’s climax takes place on Mars.

The climactic sequence showcases explosive action and reveals the truth behind Quaid’s identity.

Total Recall was praised for its groundbreaking visual effects upon its release.

The seamless integration of practical and digital effects set a new standard in the industry.

The movie explores themes of corporate greed and power.

It depicts a future where corporations hold significant influence and control over society.

Total Recall received positive reviews from critics.

The film was praised for its engaging storyline, impressive visuals, and Schwarzenegger’s performance.

Total Recall has gained a cult following over the years.

The film’s thought-provoking themes and exciting action have contributed to its enduring popularity.

Total Recall was remade in 2012, starring Colin Farrell.

The remake brought a modern twist to the story, while still paying homage to the original film.

The legacy of Total Recall continues to live on through its impact on pop culture.

The film’s influence can be seen in other sci-fi movies and media, solidifying its place as a sci-fi classic.


In conclusion, Total Recall is a groundbreaking science fiction movie that has captured the imagination of audiences since its release. With its captivating storyline, memorable characters, and stunning visual effects, it has become a cult classic in the genre. Whether you’re a fan of action, adventure, or mind-bending twists, Total Recall offers something for everyone. The film’s thought-provoking themes and expertly executed plot keep viewers engaged from start to finish. With its enduring popularity, Total Recall continues to resonate with audiences, solidifying its status as a must-watch movie for any film enthusiast.


1. Who directed Total Recall?

Total Recall was directed by Paul Verhoeven.

2. When was Total Recall released?

Total Recall was released on June 1, 1990.

3. Is Total Recall based on a book?

Yes, Total Recall is based on the Philip K. Dick short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.

4. Where was Total Recall filmed?

Total Recall was primarily filmed in Mexico City and several locations in California.

5. Who starred in Total Recall?

Total Recall features Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, and Rachel Ticotin in lead roles.

6. What is the main plot of Total Recall?

The main plot of Total Recall revolves around a man named Douglas Quaid who, after undergoing a memory-implanting procedure, discovers his true identity as a spy and embarks on a journey to uncover the truth.

7. What is the running time of Total Recall?

Total Recall has a running time of approximately 113 minutes.

8. Did Total Recall receive any awards?

Yes, Total Recall received several awards and nominations, including Academy Award nominations for Best Sound and Best Visual Effects.

9. Is there a remake of Total Recall?

Yes, a remake of Total Recall was released in 2012, starring Colin Farrell in the lead role.

10. Can Total Recall be streamed online?

Yes, Total Recall is available for streaming on various platforms such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.

If you enjoyed learning about Total Recall, why not explore more fascinating movie facts? Discover the chilling origins of the Japanese horror film Ju-on: The Grudge and its American remake. Dive into the real-world wonders of Mars, the red planet that captivated Total Recall's creators. Or, join Arnold Schwarzenegger on another thrilling adventure in the meta-comedic action flick Last Action Hero.

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