Total Recall (1990) - Rotten Tomatoes

Total Recall (1990)

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Critic Consensus: Under Paul Verhoeven's frenetic direction, Total Recall is a fast-paced rush of violence, gore, and humor that never slacks.

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Movie Info

In Paul Verhoeven's wild sci-fi action movie Total Recall, Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a 21st-century construction worker who discovers that his entire memory of the past derives from a memory chip implanted in his brain. Schwarzenegger learns that he's actually a secret agent who had become a threat to the government, so those in power planted the chip and invented a domestic lifestyle for him. Once he has realized his true identity, he travels to Mars to piece together the rest of his identity, as well as to find the man responsible for his implanted memory. Verhoeven has created a fast, furious action film with Total Recall, filled with impressive stunts and (literally) eye-popping visuals. Though the film bears only a passing resemblance to the Philip K. Dick short story it was based on ("We Can Remember It For You Wholesale"), the movie is an entertaining, if very violent, ride. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

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Cast

Arnold Schwarzenegger
as Douglas Quaid / Hauser
Ronny Cox
as Vilos Cohaagen
Marshall Bell
as George / Kuato
Ray Baker
as Bob McClane
Roy Brocksmith
as Dr. Edgemar
Mark Carlton
as Bartender
Ken Strausbaugh
as Immigration Officer
Marc Alaimo
as Everett
Michael Gregory
as Rebel Lieutenant
Ken Gilden
as Hotel Clerk
Mickey Jones
as Burly Miner
Parker Whitman
as Martian Husband
Ellen Gollas
as Martian Wife
Robert Picardo
as Johnnycab
Gloria Dorson
as Woman in Phone Booth
Erika Carlson
as Miss Lonelyhearts
Benny Corral
as Punk Cabbie
Erik Cord
as Lab Assistant
Chuck Sloan
as Scientist
Dave Nicolson
as Scientist
Frank Kopyc
as Technician
Paula McClure
as Newscaster
Rebecca Ruth
as Reporter
Milt Tarver
as Commercial Announcer
Monica Steuer
as Mutant Mother
Sasha Rionda
as Mutant Child
Linda Howell
as Tennis Pro
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Critic Reviews for Total Recall

All Critics (67) | Top Critics (17)

Schwarzenegger is never going to make the De Niros and Hoffmans of this world lose a night's sleep, but he has acquired a new confidence as an actor under Verhoeven's guidance.

Full Review… | July 27, 2016
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Total Recall is slick, sly and subversive, and if some of the special effects have aged somewhat, that only adds to the charm.

Full Review… | July 27, 2016
Time Out
Top Critic

As Quaid, Schwarzenegger continues to stretch beyond his reach as an actor, relying on physical prowess to keep him in character.

Full Review… | July 27, 2016
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

If the movie sometimes seems overwhelmed by its budget and its legendary third-act problems, it's still entertainingly raw and brutal, full of whiplash pace and juicy exaggeration.

Full Review… | July 27, 2016
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

If Total Recall isn't as much fun as I'd hoped, it's not as dreary as I'd feared. I wouldn't call it totally awesome, but it's far from being a total loss.

Full Review… | July 27, 2016
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

The movie is a cartoon, though a mammothly enjoyable one.

Full Review… | July 27, 2016
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Total Recall

Get ready for the ride of your life. cause like, theres gonna be more rides, definitely, like driving your car everyday to work and Burger-Kings and, you remember the night at the carnival when you really wanted to kiss that Tiffany chick like super, and you bought tickets for the ferris wheel and she didn't even talk til you were to the very top. and now that i think of the title, it reminds me when i was calling her around midnight after halloween and she kept sending me to voicemail, but i didn't leave no message cause i aint no stalker, and i knew she forwarded me to voicemail too, the cunt, cause it only rand two and a half times. and i like, kept calling and calling but nothing. that was such a total recall. and what a total skank. and so Schwarziniggers fuckin this broad who looks like Sharon Stone and he gets all pussy-like and turns her over sideways and looks teary talkin bout how he aint never been to mars. fuck him. i aint been neither. i aint probably even seen movies about mars, but id be happier with tonsils grindin on Sharon Stone clit than a fucking red planet with not even enough water to drench her pussy back to full health after im done with it. and then he goes to his therapist and tells him he has dreams of running around on mars and Dr. Kats is like, "if you wanna go to mars, set up an appointment. but hes like, "fuck that" and machine guns more people than i've seen have sex in my life and then after he gets there, Urkle with a laser pointer drives him to mars bars in a fag cab. and this chick with three beautiful muffin bags and Schwarzinigger don't even suck one. anyway she gets shot and milk is spilling on the highway drowning possums and shit. but the capper is the guy in the mars lab basement talkin about "the key to quenching martians thirst is the red water" and he pulls up his shirt and this blackhead on his chest got so big that its letting out air at a speed where it sounds like words. that made me laugh and i was reminded of deaf retard #2 from The Ringer when he was trying to call for help.

Coxxie Mild Sauce
Coxxie Mild Sauce

Super Reviewer

The most surrealistic, awesome, complex, gory, funny movie that Schwarzenegger has ever starred.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

½

Loosely inspired by one of Philip K. Dick's stories, this is a superb sci-fi action thriller set in a dystopic 2084 about a construction worker named Quaid who decides to go on a 'vacation' by having memories of a secret agent fantasy implanted into his brain, only for things to go horribly awry...or maybe not. Despite a few silly and cheesy moments, this is a wonderful, if violent action thriller that is both entertaining, and rather thought provoking. It really toys with that oft-used concept of blurring the line between what's real and what isn't, and this is one of the few films that actually does it quite well, with enough evidence to support multiple theories, with the true ending of the film dependent upon each viewer's own opinion. Like many of Verhoeven's American films, it's got a lot of violence, but provides a lot of thought provoking ideas and material, often satirical, as well. It's all presented with some groundbreaking special effects (almost all of them done practically or in camera as opposed to CGI), a terrific score by Jerry Goldsmith, and some decent, if sometimes silly, but still fun performances. And let's not forget about the most memorable thing this film has to offer: a three-breasted mutant prostitute! Definitely give this one a watch. It's not flawless, but it is remarkably strong, and easily one of both Verhoeven and Schwarzenegger's best films.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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