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GeekZenith’s Classic Movie Dump: Total Recall

GeekZenith's Classic Movie Info Dump: Total Recall

With news this week of a possible remake of the sci-fi classic that is Total Recall, we thought it only appropriate that it feature as this week’s subject of the GeekZenith Movie Info Dump.

The Plot

GeekZenith's Movie Info Dump: Total Recall

When a construction worker has vivid dreams about Mars and a woman he fell in with love there, Douglas Quaid feels compelled to check out the latest commercial memory implant procedures at Rekall Inc and consequently purchases to have a Mars danger holiday implanted into his memories. Things go terribly wrong within the Rekall procedure room when the tehcnicians discover he already has an implanted memory and Quaid’s life unravels before his eyes. He realises that his dreams about Mars and the woman he loved weren’t dreams at all. They were memories.

Principle Cast


  • Over 40 drafts of the script were written, some of which depicted Quaid as a mild-mannered accountant (instead of a construction worker). According to Paul Verhoeven, although there were many changes made to each of the scripts, the final draft of the script was very similar to the first draft.
  • Robert Picardo was voice of and facial model for the “Johnnycab” robot.
  • The Philip K. Dick short story on which it was based was first optioned in 1974, 16 years before the film finally was released.
  • The concept of Quaid being a physically-buffed construction worker was suggested by Arnold Schwarzenegger himself. In the earlier drafts of the script, Quaid (originally named Quail) was originally described as an average-looking accountant-type person. Because of this detail, when the movie was originally going to be produced by Dino De Laurentiis, he was adamant about not letting Schwarzenegger audition for the role of Quaid. It was only after Schwarzenegger convinced Mario Kassar to buy the script rights from De Laurentiis (whose production company went bankrupt) that the later drafts were re-written to change Quaid’s character into one more suitable for Schwarzenegger to play. Schwarzenegger said that he felt this helped the story even more, giving a much stronger contrast to it by turning a character who is otherwise powerful physically into a character that becomes vulnerable after having his mind stolen.
  • Christopher Reeve was offered, but turned down, the role of Douglas Quaid.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger was originally going to play the title role in RoboCop but problems with the costume caused producers to drop the idea. After Schwarzenegger saw Robocop, he expressed 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.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger was so impressed by how much dedication Sharon Stone had in training for her character role, that he even referred to her as the “Female Terminator”. Stone was even inducted into the Stunt Woman Association as an honorary member.

Box Office

Budget: $50,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $25,533,700 (USA) (3 June 1990) (2 Screens)
Gross: $119,394,840 (USA)

Our Take

GeekZenith's Classic Movie Info Dump: Total Recall

Total Recall was the pinnacle of sci-fi movies from the late 80′s or early 90′s, added weight by Schwarzenegger’s many quality films in the genre including Conan The Barbarian, The Terminator, Red Sonja, Predator and The Running Man. This combined with the sheer awesome literally weight that Philip K. Dick brings with him and you can see why we consider this movie to be a classic and why we just had to feature it in the Classic Movie Info Dump feature of the website.

The movie mixes sci-fi, action and mystery together seamlessly, keeping up a fast-paced narrative that relishes in cruelty of Cohaagen and the strength of the practically enslaved population dependent on him for breathable air. The strange story unravels itself with subtly and shock, as the narrative his turned upside down not once, but twice.

This is what sci-fi films are meant to be.

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2 Responses to GeekZenith’s Classic Movie Dump: Total Recall

  1. Dan says:

    Great article. This is one of my favourite science-fiction films ever. After Terminator 1 and 2 this is one of Arnie best movies.

  2. Pingback: Total Recall (1990) - Movie

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