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Every one-star review for every number one box-office movie of the 1990s

Total Recall

Directed byPaul Verhoeven
Produced byBuzz Feitshans, Ronald Shusett, Mario Kassar
Screenplay byRonald Shusett, Dan O’Bannon, Gary Goldman
Story byRonald Shusett, Dan O’Bannon, Jon Povill
Based onWe Can Remember It for You Wholesale
by Philip K. Dick
StarringArnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside, Ronny Cox
Music byJerry Goldsmith
CinematographyJost Vacano
Edited byFrank J. Urioste ,Carlos Puente
Carolco Pictures
Distributed byTriStar Pictures
Release dateJune 1, 1990 (United States)
Running time113 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$50–60 million
Box office$261.3 million

Total Recall is a 1990 American science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Arnold SchwarzeneggerRachel TicotinSharon StoneRonny Cox, and Michael Ironside. The film is loosely based on the 1966 Philip K. Dick short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale“.

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. It was written by Ronald ShusettDan O’BannonJon Povill, and Gary Goldman, and won a Special Achievement Academy Award for its visual effects. The original score, composed by Jerry Goldsmith, won the BMI Film Music Award.

With a budget of $50–60 million, Total Recall was one of the most expensive films made at the time of its release, although estimates of its production budget vary and whether it ever actually held the record is not certain. The film grossed $261 million worldwide.

Total Recall’s one-star reviews on IMDb

Stop putting stupid pointless female nudity into everything.

Reubenhersh – 28 November 2020

Stop putting stupid pointless female nudity into everything.

0 out of 10 found this helpful.


Johndavis-46184 – 1 November 2020

Arnold may have had a great body(a long time ago), but he has no acting skill whatsoever. This movie is filled with mindless violence, silly chase scenes, and plot twists which make no sense. Its an insult to the Sci Fi world.

1 out of 9 found this helpful.

So bad

Tommytomato-15522 – 24 August 2019

This really is a terrible movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger just cant act and everything is just one big mess, 13 year old boys will love it for the triplets 😄

2 out of 22 found this helpful.

This will make you feel bad

Texxas-1 – 4 March 2019

I thought this would be a cool science fiction film from the 90s, it turned out to be creepy, disturbing and vile. Arnolds character does not come across as a nice guy. I hated all the characters, the ones that weren’t bad were just creepy. Theres this one creepy scene where a man has a little mini me grown on his chest, like a beast baby. This beast baby is shot in the head. It’s almost like watching areal baby be splattered to death. It’s really horrible. I had nightmares after watching this and I felt bad after this.

2 out of 14 found this helpful.

Criminally Over-Rated Schwarzenegger Turkey. Removing the Urine from the Hollywood Mass Debaters.

S-Hite-Forbranes – 22 February 2019

I rented the abysmal 90’s Total Recall based on the recommendation of a friend that it was, in his words, “The best science fiction movie I’ve ever seen.” Obviously he hadn’t seen too many because it wasn’t science fiction at all but a B grade Hollywood action movie masquerading as science fiction. Thanks for nothing ass-hole (and that ain’t cussing folks it actually means Donkey-Excavation) you robbed me of two hours of my life. I could not believe how bad this piece of crap was (Sir Thomas Crapper invented the toilet, and this film should have been flushed down one), the special effects, were cheap, unconvincing trash, the mutant make-up and prosthetics were cheap and plastic looking, and the ambiguity over whether Quaid was really a secret agent, or just experiencing a Rekall implanted fantasy was non-existent, (it’s omnipotentcreatordamned Arnie, of course he’s a secret agent, retards). The stupid exploding balloon heads were laughably bad, cheap crap, they just looked totally pathetic, and besides people don’t explode when exposed to vacuum or low atmospheric pressue, this is just Hollywood bullsh*t (that’s cussing, this sort of unbelievable trash in science fiction films pisses me off). Their heads nearly explode yet the characters are totally fine after breathing some very coveniently produced oxygen? In reality they would have suffocated, froze and been irradiated by solar radiation which bathes the surface of Mars due to its lack of a protective magnetosphere. And sticking red hot steel rods into ice would not produce oxygen, nor increase atmospheric pressure anyway, just make a hell of a lot of steam and water, which would boil away very quickly due to the low atmospheric pressure on Mars. Absolutely f**king ludicrous, mere words cannot convey just how much I hate and despise this movie. Afterwards I smashed it with a hammer and told the video store it had been stolen, as a humanitarian public service to any other poor proles that may have been tempted to waste their hard-earned cash renting it. It was quite cathartic and provided the only entertainment I got from this trash, and it most certainly improved the film 100% (Oh crap, I hope no-one from Blockbuster reads this review).

This faux “science fiction” movie was just truly and utterly awful in every aspect, and it is an unforgivable insult to science fiction and Philip K. Dick fans, as well as an example of the creative bankruptcy of the Hollywood film industry. This trash is considered a “Classic” and god knows how anyone with more than two brain cells could actually like this P.O.S. movie, obviously the brain-washed and the terminally brain-dead are easily impressed. The phrase Lowest Common Denominator comes to mind (I can totally picture Beavis and Butthead going “Hurhh, hurrh, hurhh, dude, like, that chick’s got three boobs, awesome, hurrhh, hurrh, hurrh.”).

Paul Verhoeven is a vastly over-rated director, the only example of an even worse “science fiction” film-maker that comes to mind would have to be Roland Emmerich. Verhoeven’s only talent lies in making a big budget production like Totall Recall look like cheap B grade trash, even Ed Wood could have made a better movie than this for twenty bucks. Verhoeven made one half-decent film, the original Robocop (even if it was obviously right-wing, conservative propaganda masquerading as satire, that totally ripped off Judge Dredd). Everything else he has done is festering crap – Starship Troopers for example, yes we get it Paul, as you say on the commentary: fascism is a BAD THING. Although, Robert Heinlein was accused of espousing pro-fascist views in the Starship Troopers novel, and I think Verhoeven is lying, I think the film is decidedly PRO-FASCIST. Denise Richards should have been promptly executed by firing squad for numerous crimes against the acting profession, as should Hollywood film studio executives for heinous crimes against the cinematic art-form. Enjoy your squillions of dollars whilst you can female parent fornicators – Come the revolution(Shut up idiot, the first rule of Project Mayhem is you do not talk about Project Mayhem)first up against the wall.

To all the whingeing, whining, donkey-excavation, mass debaters who venerate the original craptacular Arnie starring Total Recall as a “Classic” whilst heaping scorn and condescension on the 2012 re-make (a far from good film, but actually much better than this garbage). Get over it and get a life non-winners (or grow a few more brain cells). Just like war mongering, camouflaged-fascist politics, sociopathic, exploitative corporations and money gouging, hate perpetuating religious institutions, Verhoeven’s Total Recall is offensive in the extreme to all rational, free-thinking, intelligent life-forms. Avoid it if you actually appreciate intelligent science fiction cinema (and I don’t mean mega-budget excrement like Star Wars, Star Trek, and Marvel superhero trash, those stinking pools of cinematic vomit aren’t science fiction, they’re fantasy). Even the mediocre Paycheck was better than Total Recall. Yet again Hollywood totally FUBAR Philip K. Dick’s fiction, the most adapted science fiction author in the history of cinema. The Hollywood mass debaters should keep their slimy hands off the Dick. And come to think of it I can only recall two PKD adaptations that were actually any good: Blade Runner (not a faithful adaptation, but it’s better than the novel), and A Scanner Darkly (the most faithful of all the PKD adaptations). Not to mention all the donkey-excavation film-makers who blatantly rip off PKD’s themes in their films, for example – The Matrix. Memento. Dark City. Inception. The Prestige. Fight Club. Shutter Island. Sucker Punch (and don’t get me wrong, aside from The Matrix which is just a badly written, badly acted, stupefyingly awful piece of crap, most of these weren’t actually bad films at all, I enjoyed ’em but they should at least give credit where credit’s due). The Urine Has Been Removed (Ask an Australian).

Total Recall blows the skin-flute big time. I just wish I could erase it from my memory.

2 out of 22 found this helpful.

Bad language, gross creatures

Rdillenbeck-605-12664 – 6 January 2019

Overuse of profanity and obscenity. This movie is a nightmare.

3 out of 19 found this helpful.

Intelligent only if you are lobotomized

Blueche – r19 November 2018

Make no mistake, behind its pseudo-intellectual facade this movie is just another mindless Arnold shoot’em up.

Almost from the beginning the outcome of the movie is literally SPELLED OUT by numerous characters at numerous occasions in often lengthy and loud speeches to make sure that nobody will miss the point.

If that is your idea of an intellectually stimulating film then “Billy Madison” or “Dude, where’s my car?” are probably too.

4 out of 21 found this helpful.

Couldn’t stop laughing!

Gawain-15641 – 26 December 2017

Warning: Spoilers

If this film had been billed as comedy instead of science fiction I would have given it a higher rating. But, alas, it seems that the director was only trying to appeal to the most unsophisticated audiences possible; and in that regard I guess he succeeded.

The acting was terrible throughout. Arnold was his usual wooden self with some of the worst dialogue imaginable. Even his patented tough guy one-liners were predictable and lame (he says “consider that a divorce” after shooting Sharon Stone, his pretend wife, in the head). And most of his actions scenes, which comprised most of the movie, were simply laughable. It seems to me that Arnold’s best acting work is as a robot.

Sharon Stone wasn’t much better unless her goal was to portray a cartoonish, sleazy bitch that no one could take seriously. If that was the case she pulled it off pretty well.

It actually scares me to see so many reviewers rate this piece of trash 10 stars. What were they watching! How low are their standards! I suppose if all it takes are a bunch of loud explosions, lots of breaking glass, and completely implausible chase scenes to make one happy, then this film delivers on all counts. But is that what it has come to?

After viewing this gigantic failure I Googled Philip K Dick to see if he was still around to witness this atrocious portrayal of his work. He wasn’t. It was sad to see that he died so young (53), but at least he didn’t have to witness this insult to his talent and imagination. Oh well, we’ll always have Blade Runner!

5 out of 18 found this helpful.


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