Today is the thirtieth anniversary of the premiere of Total Recall. Based on the 1968 short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale, the film follows a construction worker who has a vacation memory implanted in his head only to discover that he is a secret agent from Mars and sets out to discover his true identity while battling the evil ruler of the planet.
A film adaptation had been in development from the 1970s. It shifted between numerous filmmakers never going anywhere. It wasn't until Arnold Schwarzenegger approached the rights holders following the success of his film Predator that it went into production. Though reports on the budget vary, it was one of the most expensive movies ever made at the time.
The film was a critical and massive financial success. It was the fifth highest grossing film of the year. Critics gave it terrific reviews calling it one of the best science fiction and action movies ever made. It was nominated for numerous awards, including two Academy Awards, and won the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film. The film inspired a loose sequel series and remake. A theatrical sequel had been considered, but a lack of interest from the original cast and crew meant it never came to be. Instead, the ideas eventually morphed into the Steven Spielberg film Minority Report.
The film features the talents of Schwarzenegger as main hero Douglas Quaid and secret villain Carl Hauser, Michael Ironside as the main villain's henchman and Quaid's rival Richter, and Bob Bergen providing additional voices.