Total Recall • Main Theme • Jerry Goldsmith

!The best soundtracks&movies of all time! Soundtrack from the 1990 Paul Verhoeven film “Total Recall,” with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Ronny.

Total Recall is a 1990 American science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven, with a screenplay by Ronald Shusett, Dan O’Bannon, and Gary Goldman. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, and Michael Ironside. Based on the 1966 short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick, Total Recall tells the story of Douglas Quaid (Schwarzenegger), a construction worker who receives an implanted memory of a fantastical adventure on Mars. He subsequently finds his adventure occurring in reality as agents of a shadow organization try to prevent him from recovering memories of his past as a Martian secret agent aiming to stop the tyrannical regime of Martian dictator Vilos Cohaagen (Cox).

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Shusett bought the rights to Dick’s short story in 1974 and developed a script with O’Bannon. Although considered a promising idea, the project’s ambitious scope kept it in various stages of development at multiple studios over sixteen years, seeing forty script drafts, seven different directors, and multiple actors cast as Quaid. Total Recall eventually entered the early stages of filming in 1987 under the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group shortly before its bankruptcy. Schwarzenegger, who had long held an interest in the project but had been dismissed as inappropriate for the lead role, convinced Carolco Pictures to purchase the rights and develop the film with him as the star. On an estimated $48–80 million budget (making it one of the most expensive films made in its time), filming took place almost entirely on expansive sets at Estudios Churubusco in Mexico over six months. Cast and crew suffered numerous injuries and illnesses during filming.

Total Recall was anticipated to be one of the year’s most successful films. On its release, the film earned approximately $261.4 million worldwide, making it the fifth-highest-grossing film of the year. Its critical reception was mixed, with reviewers praising its themes of identity and questioning reality, but criticizing content perceived as vulgar and violent. The practical special effects were also well received, earning the film an Academy Award, and the score by Jerry Goldsmith has been praised as one of his best works.

Since its release, Total Recall has been praised for its ambiguous ending positing whether Quaid’s adventures are real or a fantasy, and it has also been analyzed for themes of colonialism and authoritarianism. Retrospective reviews have called it one of Schwarzenegger’s best films and placed it among the best science fiction films ever made. Alongside comic books and video games, Total Recall has been adapted into the 1999 television series Total Recall 2070. An early attempt at a sequel, based on Dick’s The Minority Report, became the 2002 stand-alone film Minority Report, and a 2012 remake, also titled Total Recall, failed to replicate the success of the original.


In 2084, Mars is a colonized world under the tyrannical regime of Vilos Cohaagen, who controls the mining of valuable turbinium ore. On Earth, construction worker Douglas Quaid experiences recurring dreams about Mars and a mysterious woman. Intrigued, he visits Rekall, a company that implants realistic false memories, and chooses one set on Mars (with a blue sky) where he is a Martian secret agent. However, before the implant is completed Quaid lashes out, already thinking he is a secret agent. Believing Cohaagen’s “Agency” has suppressed Quaid’s memories, the Rekall employees erase evidence of Quaid’s visit and send him home.

En route, Quaid is attacked by men led by his colleague Harry because Quaid unknowingly revealed his past; Quaid’s instincts take over and he kills his assailants. At home, he is assaulted by his wife Lori who claims their marriage is a false memory implant, and the Agency assigned her to monitor Quaid. He flees but is pursued by armed men led by Richter, Cohaagen’s operative and Lori’s real husband. A man claiming to be Quaid’s former acquaintance gifts him a suitcase containing supplies and a video recording in which Quaid identifies himself as Hauser, a Cohaagen ally who defected after falling in love. According to the recording, Cohaagen brainwashed Hauser to become Quaid and conceal his secrets before securing him on Earth. Hauser instructs Quaid to return to Mars and stop Cohaagen.

On Mars, Quaid evades Richter and, following a note from Hauser, travels to Venusville, a district populated by humans and those mutated by air pollution and radiation. He meets Melina, the woman from his dreams, who knows him as Hauser and believes he is still working for Cohaagen. In his hotel room, Quaid is confronted by Lori and Dr. Edgemar from Rekall, who explains that Quaid is trapped in his fantasy memory and is still at Rekall on Earth. Quaid notices Edgemar is sweating and, believing he is real, kills him. Quaid is captured by Richter’s men, but Melina rescues him and Quaid kills Lori. The pair escape with taxi driver Benny to Venusville.

The mutants lead them to a hidden rebel base, where Quaid meets their leader Kuato, a mutant growing out of the abdomen of his brother George. Kuato psychically reads Quaid’s mind, learning that Cohaagen is hiding a 500,000-year-old alien reactor built into a mountain that, once activated, produces breathable air but could also destroy all turbinium, ending Cohaagen’s monopoly over both resources. Benny shoots George, revealing himself to be in Cohaagen’s employ, and Cohaagen’s forces attack the base, killing the rebels. Kuato implores Quaid to start the reactor before Richter executes him. Cohaagen disables Venusville’s air supply to slowly suffocate the remaining inhabitants.

Quaid and Melina are brought to Cohaagen, who explains that Hauser was his close friend who volunteered to become Quaid as an elaborate ruse to bypass the mutants’ psychic abilities, infiltrate the rebellion, and destroy it. Quaid’s Rekall visit had activated him earlier than planned and Cohaagen has been helping him to survive the oblivious Richter’s pursuit. Cohaagen orders Hauser’s memories to be restored in Quaid and Melina to be reprogrammed as his subservient lover, but they manage to escape to the mines below the reactor. Benny, Richter, and his men attack them, but the pair outwits and kills them all.

Cohaagen awaits them in the reactor control room, claiming that activating it will destroy the planet. He sets off an explosive but Quaid throws it down a tunnel, creating a breach to the Martian surface. The explosive decompression blows Cohaagen out to the surface where he suffocates and dies. Quaid activates the reactor before he and Melina are also blown out. The reactor melts the planet’s ice core into gas that bursts to the surface, forming a breathable atmosphere and saving Quaid, Melina, and the rest of Mars’s population. As everyone beholds the now-blue sky, Quaid momentarily wonders if everything was a dream, before he and Melina share a kiss.

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