Total Recall is based on the Phillip K. Dick short story ‘We Can Remember It For You Wholesale’ and follows the the unravelling double life of Douglas Quaid/Hauser (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and the ensuing liberation of the oppressed Martian colony being manipulated by Vilos Cohaagen (Ronny Cox).
The distributor had requested a 15 rating but the Examiners’ reports show that they had concerns about scenes of violence at this category. They also recommended against cuts “to a film expertly and technically executed”. Examiners considered the impact on the audience of the combination of action and violence as well as the likely appeal of the film to teenagers. But ultimately the Examiners concluded that the levels of “punchy and upfront” violence would best be represented by an 18 certificate.
Total Recall was released in 1990 with an 18 certificate, and remains an 18 on DVD, and a rebooted Total Recall will be released in August this year, directed by Len Wiseman and starring Colin Farrell as Quaid/Hauser.