Total Recall

Corrected entry: Quaid and Melina both use the hologram device to trick Rickter and his men at the reactor. If the holograms are mimicking Quaid and Melina's actions then the bad guys should have spotted the real Quaid and Melina walking around just mere feet away.

Correction: They would mimic the moves behind a pillar, unseen by Rickter and his men.


Corrected entry: When Arnold's wife grabs a knife out of the sink and takes the first swing at him, you can see that there's nothing in her hand.

Correction: Completely wrong. The knife is very visible in her hand using slo-mo.


Correction: Strictly speaking, 'natives' would have been more accurate, yes, but if you take 'aliens' to mean non-humans, which is a common interpretation, his statement is quite reasonable.

Tailkinker Premium member

Corrected entry: After Richter and Helm attack the Last Resort, during which Helm is killed by Thumbelina, Quaid and Melina escape into the mines with Benny to meet Kuato. After Lori and Dr. Edgemar reveal their deception, it doesn't make sense that Quaid would trust Benny, since he showed up the minute Quaid and Melina were trying to escape from Richter and Helm. This was a sign that Benny was working for Cohaagen.

Correction: The main reason he trusted Benny is because he is a mutant.


When Quaid first arrives at the Hilton Hotel, Benny only offers Quaid a ride and no-one else, like he anticipated Quaid's arrival. Benny conveniently shows up when Quaid and Melina are on the run from Richter and Helm, like he already knows they are in trouble. The rebel lieutenant doesn't know Benny, and the rebels presumably know everyone in their group since outsiders can be spies working for Cohaagen. Despite these signs that Benny could be one of Cohaagen's agents, Quaid still trusts him, but he knew not to trust Edgemar, who had lied about the adventure being a dream when it was reality.

Him picking up Quaid is not weird, just a cab driver like all others offering him a ride, stealing him away from someone else even. Him being a mutant totally eliminated any doubt about him. Quaid knows nothing of the politics on Mars so follows the choices of the rebels, who don't know how coincidental him being there is. Edgemar on the other hand was human, trying to convince him it's all a dream.


Corrected entry: Funny how the bad guys (Richter, et al) can pinpoint Quade with their scanner, but they run right past him on the way to his apartment.


Correction: They didn't turn the scanner on yet. They expected that his wife would have killed, or at least restrained, him on their way up. No need to scan when the know exactly where he is.


Corrected entry: The atmosphere of Mars is so cold that anyone who went outside without a spacesuit would freeze instantly.

Correction: In the summer when the sun is up the surface temperature of Mars could be as high as 35° Celsius. So no, you won't always freeze instantly.


Correction: Mars' atmosphere is almost like space, 100 times less dense than Earth's atmosphere. It is a myth that space is "cold", even when the local temperature is well below freezing. When absent most matter, heat loss is much slower. Your principal means of heat loss will be through radiation (which humans have not evolved to do - we principally cool through evaporation and convection). Because it has almost no atmosphere to trap heat with, the feeling of "cold air" that you might expect simply isn't as strong on Mars. (On the other hand, rapid expansion of gas causes rapid cooling. The gigantic fusion reactor probably *would* freeze them, as the released oxygen would be utterly cryonic.) Though the dark side of Mars is quite a bit cooler than the dark side of the moon, it is still not nearly enough to freeze instantly. You would not freeze instantly even on Earth in -60 degree weather either (although it would be incredibly painful).

Corrected entry: In the scene where Arnold is at the front desk of the hotel and retrieves the paper from the safety deposit box, he asks for a pen. The clerk gives him a red pen to write on the back of the paper stated "for a good time, ask for Melina". When the scene cuts to Arnold writing on the paper, the ink is black. When he returns the pen to the clerk, it is red again.

Correction: The body's black - it's just a red cap on a black pen.

Corrected entry: Never mind the absolute ridiculousness of having machine guns in a vacuum environment with many glass windows (and huge glass domes), why for safety's sake didn't the Mars colony have bullet proof glass?

Correction: Simply, money. Cohagen simply doesn't care. Bullet-proof glass is an expense he would rather not have.

Corrected entry: In the scene where Lori is fighting with Douglas Quaid, it shows her wearing a pair of brand new 1990 Ladies Nike Air sneakers, even though the film is supposed to be set quite some time in the future. It is unquestionable that Nike would have updated its product or changed to accommodate a change in fashion.

Correction: There are people today that would spend a few hundred dollars to buy a set of 1900 Levi jeans to wear. Maybe she bought a vintage set of Nike sneakers. Look at Will Smith's character in I, Robot.


Corrected entry: After Quaid and Melina escape from Cohaagen's scientists they retreat to the Pyramid Mines in order to locate the reactor. They come upon a dead end only to find Benny lying in wait inside a tunneling machine in order to kill them. Benny had no way of knowing they would be over there - Cohaagen and Richter didn't even know they had escaped the scientists yet - so there was no logical reason for Benny to have been waiting there for them. (01:32:25 - 01:33:25)

Phaneron Premium member

Correction: Benny (and Richter) was in the room when Kuato told Quaid to start the reactor, so he knew exactly what Quaid's plans were. He was probably ordered there to make sure Quaid (or his associates) didn't try to get to the reactor. It just so happened to be Quaid and Melina who went to the reactor, but Benny would be waiting for anyone.


Corrected entry: Listen to the technician at the recall center when Arnie first gets put in the chain to begin his "vacation", right before he is introduced to his choices for women. You will hear the male lab guy say, "This is a new one, blue skies over Mars", exactly what happens at the end of the movie! So, is it all just a dream?

Correction: Yeah, that's kinda the point - there are many references during the Recall centre section of the film to what subsequently happens, raising the possibility that the whole thing is, in fact, a dream. The references are pretty obvious (and there are more than you mentioned), which invalidates them as worthy trivia. As has been said many times, something that can be readily seen or heard simply by watching the film is not valid trivia.

Tailkinker Premium member

Corrected entry: The alien machine apparently simply heats the glacier ice to produce oxygen. However, heating ice merely creates water vapour (steam). To produce oxygen from water requires a more complicated process involving electrolysis, and could not be done in mere seconds to produce enough oxygen to cover an entire planet. If that much oxygen (and hydrogen, don't forget) was pumped out that quickly, it would produce massive storms and lethal high winds which, when combined with all the dust on Mars would sandblast everyone to death, and the resultant storms and high winds would last for decades.

Correction: Several things: The glacier could be made up of frozen oxygen so there would be no need for electrolysis. Keep in mind that this is a fictional machine built by a fictional alien species set in a fictional movie in the future. So there is no saying what physical properties govern this device. Also, seeing as how no one has actually ever instantly mass-produced that much oxygen to cover an entire planet, there is no saying what the actual consequences would be.

Corrected entry: The psychiatrist that Arnold meets in his room did in fact work closely with Mr. Cohaagen. In Arnold's memory, we see Mr. C., Richter, and some other guys walking through the room Arnold will use his 3-D holo-image in. With them is the "psychiatrist" but with some glasses on.

Correction: No, this man is not the psychiatrist. It is just someone with glasses.

Corrected entry: When Arnold is in the hotel being talked down by the psychiatrist, the villains are waiting to get an elevator. When they get to the floor with Arnold's room they arrive on a different bank of elevators. They come up the main elevators only to arrive on the service elevators.

Correction: They don't arrive at the service elevator. It looks similar but if you look its different than the elevator Melina got out of.

Corrected entry: The film establishes that the core of Mars is made of ice. When planets are coalescing from gas clouds, cumulative gravity draws the heavier materials into the center of the planet. This is why Earth has a nickel-iron core and even gas giants have some solid material in the center. Ice is much too light to occupy this niche in Mars and would have been crushed and replaced by heavier metals in the shell around it, even if the ice was inserted after planetary formation by aliens.


Correction: Quaid (Arnold) says this, but I wouldn't say that means that "the film establishes it". Quaid is not a scientist and has no idea how this thing works. He sees a big patch of ice in a cave and decides the whole core of Mars is ice, it's probably just one ancient ocean that drained into an underground cave system and froze.


Corrected entry: When Arnie first activates the hologram in the old factory hall and faces it, it can be seen that the holo image holds the left hand (with the hologram projector) up; the real Arnie lets his left arm dangle.

Correction: As we see later in the movie, the hologram is a mirror image of the original person.

Correction: The moons are not potato shaped. Both satellites have topographic variations as large as 20 percent of local mean radii, and Deimos has a few large flat areas, but they appear round to the eye.

Corrected entry: After the fight with Richtor, Arnie throws his severed arms off the elevator. If you look closely at the bottom of the elevator you can see the arms do not fall all the way down. They disappear once they hit the floor of the stage Arnie is acting on - they forgot to animate some arms falling on the bluescreen image.

Correction: Rictor's arms were torn off when the elevator passed through a floor or a tier or something. Is it not possible that this is where the arms fell to? I don't think they were meant to fall all the way down...

You missed the point of the mistake. It's not about the arms falling to the Mars ground. As the elevator platform is moving up, we can see the background below the platform. When the arms are tossed over, they should be visible below the platform as they fall, since it's open space. But in the scene, the arms just disappear once they hit the real life stage ground because they weren't added in during post.


Corrected entry: Near the end of the film, where Quaid is about to get shot by the man with the bomb, (Cohagen), Melina arrives just in time to shoot him 5 or 6 times in the shoulder, then 6 or 7 more times in the chest. You can see that he is barely strong enough to pick up the remote detonation device. But, somehow, he is strong enough to keep himself from being sucked into the wind tunnel.

Correction: Adrenaline rush could account for that, people often find to posses strength they otherwise wouldn't have in life and death situations. Additionally, if the movie is just playing in Quaids' mind, it's not necessarily completely realistic and this part adds quite a bit to the drama, making the virtual holiday seem even more heroic.

Corrected entry: When Cohagen is boasting about how his plan to kill Cuato was a success, he mentions that Richter wasn't aware of the plan. But this makes no sense, because if Richter had managed to kill Quaid (and he had plenty of chances to do so) then the whole plan would have failed. Cohagen would have definitely made sure that Richter had orders not to kill him.


Correction: Cohagen mentions this in his rant to Quaid on how the plan almost failed. And, people do disobey orders.


Revealing mistake: Doug has the hologram when inside the alien nuclear reactor, and a bunch of bad guys encircle the holographic image and fire at it at point blank with automatic weapons, and not one bad guy gets hit. If they encircled the 3D image, at least a few bad guys would have been hit by their own men. (01:37:00)

More mistakes in Total Recall

Hauser: Howdy, stranger. This is Hauser. If things have gone wrong, I'm talking to myself, and you've got a wet towel wrapped around your head. Now, whatever your name is, get ready for the big surprise. You are not you. You are me.
Quaid: No shit.


More quotes from Total Recall

Trivia: Most of the movie was shot in Mexico because it was believed labour costs to build the sets would be cheaper there, but it turned out that the cost of importing required materials from the US negated this benefit.


More trivia for Total Recall

Question: There is a scene in the movie in which Arnie disguises as a woman to pass the entrance control in Mars. Moments later, the mask he's using starts to malfunction and he has to take it off. When he's doing that, we can see that the man who's playing Quaid is not Arnie but a stunt double. Why did the director choose a stunt double to replace Arnie in a scene that's not risky at all?

Answer: It's not a stunt double, it's a mannequin (fake head actually) of Arnie, used for the artificial head shot.

Grumpy Scot

More questions & answers from Total Recall

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.