CPB Field Manual Wiki
Genre science fiction
Directed by Paul Verhoeven
Produced by Mario Kassar
Andrew G. Vajna
Written by Short Story
Philip K. Dick
Ronald Shusett
Dan O’Bannon
Gary Goldman
Screen story
Ronald Shusett
Dan O’Bannon
Jon Povill
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
Rachel Ticotin
Sharon Stone
Michael Ironside
Ronny Cox
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography Jost Vacano
Editing by Carlos Puente
Frank J. Urioste
Distributed by United States
TriStar Pictures
United Kingdom
Release date June 1, 1990
Running time 113 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $65 million
Gross revenue $261,299,840

Total Recall is a 1990 American science-fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, and Michael Ironside. The film is loosely based on the Philip K. Dick short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale". It was written by Ronald Shusett, Dan O'Bannon, Jon Povill, and Gary Goldman, and won a Special Achievement Academy Award for its visual effects. The original film score composed by Jerry Goldsmith won the BMI Film Music Award.[1]


The film tells the story of a construction worker who suddenly finds himself embroiled in espionage on Mars and unable to determine if the experiences are real or the result of memory implants.[1]


Construction worker Douglas Quaid is having troubling dreams about Mars and a mysterious woman there. His wife Lori dismisses the dreams and discourages him from thinking about Mars, where the governor, Vilos Cohaagen, is fighting a rebellion. At Rekall, a company that provides memory implants of vacations, Quaid opts for a memory trip to Mars as a secret agent. However, something goes wrong during the procedure, and Quaid starts revealing suppressed memories of actually being a secret agent. They sedate him, wipe his memory of the visit, and send him home. On the way, Quaid is attacked by his friend Harry and some other men and he is forced to kill them. He is then attacked in his apartment by Lori, who states that she isn't his wife; their marriage is a false memory implant, and Cohaagen sent her to monitor Quaid. He is then attacked and pursued by armed men led by Richter, Cohaagen's operative and Lori's real husband.

After evading his attackers, Quaid is given a suitcase containing money, gadgets, fake IDs, and a video recording. The video is of Quaid himself, who identifies himself as Hauser and explains that he used to work for Cohaagen, but switched sides after learning about the artifact and underwent the memory wipe to protect himself. Hauser instructs Quaid to remove a tracking device located inside his skull before ordering him to go to Mars and check into the Hilton Hotel with a fake ID. Quaid makes his way to Mars and goes to Venusville, primarily populated by people mutated as a result of poor radiation shielding. He meets Benny, a taxi driver, and Melina, the woman from his dreams, but she spurns him, believing that he is still working for Cohaagen.

Quaid later encounters Dr. Edgemar and Lori, who claim Quaid has suffered a "schizoid embolism" and is trapped in a fantasy based on the implanted memories. Edgemar warns that Quaid is headed for a lobotomy if he does not return to reality, then offers Quaid a pill that would waken him from the dream. Quaid puts the pill in his mouth, but sees Edgemar sweating, so he kills Edgemar and spits out the pill. Richter's men burst into the room and capture Quaid, but Melina rescues him, with Quaid killing Lori in the process. Melina and Quaid race back to Venusville and escape into the tunnels with Benny. Unable to locate Quaid, Cohaagen shuts down the ventilation to Venusville, slowly asphyxiating its citizens. Quaid, Melina, and Benny are taken to a resistance base, and Quaid is introduced to Kuato. Kuato reads Quaid's mind and tells him that the alien artifact is a turbinium reactor that will create a breathable atmosphere for Mars, eliminating Cohaagen's monopoly on breathable air. Benny reveals that he works for Cohaagen, whose forces burst in and kill most of the resistance, including Kuato.

Quaid and Melina are taken to Cohaagen, who explains that the Quaid persona was a ploy by Hauser to infiltrate the mutants and expose Kuato, thereby wiping out the resistance. Cohaagen orders Hauser's memory to be reimplanted in Quaid and Melina programmed as Hauser's obedient wife, but Quaid and Melina escape into the mines where the reactor is located. Benny attacks them in an excavation machine, but Quaid kills Benny. Quaid then confronts Richter and his men, killing them, too.

Quaid reaches the reactor control room, where Cohaagen is waiting with a bomb. During the ensuing struggle, Cohaagen triggers the bomb, but Quaid throws it away, blowing out one of the walls of the control room and causing an explosive decompression. Cohaagen is sucked out onto the surface, killing him. Quaid manages to activate the reactor before Melina and he are also pulled out and begin to experience the decompression effects. Before they die, the reactor releases air into the atmosphere, saving Quaid, Melina, and the rest of Mars' population. As humans walk onto the surface of the planet, Quaid momentarily pauses to wonder whether he is dreaming or not, before turning to kiss Melina.


  • Arnold Schwarzenegger as Douglas Quaid / Hauser
  • Rachel Ticotin as Melina
  • Sharon Stone as Lori Quaid
  • Ronny Cox as Vilos Cohaagen
  • Michael Ironside as Richter
  • Mel Johnson, Jr. as Benny
  • Marshall Bell as George
  • Roy Brocksmith as Dr. Edgemar
  • Ray Baker as Bob McClane
  • Rosemary Dunsmore as Dr. Renata Lull
  • Robert Costanzo as Harry
  • Marc Alaimo as Captain Everett
  • Dean Norris as Tony