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on January 12, 2000
It is amazing that over a quarter of a century since its original release that Emmanuelle remains in the top three best selling French films on video. But is it so remarkable? Here we have a piece of pure eroticism which has scarcely been matched in all those years. Emmanuelle is not about explicit sexual action - those that buy it will be disappointed if that is what they expect, with the exception of the notorious nightclub smoking scene which I feel sure director Just Jaeckin must now regret including. If it is possible to feel outraged by anything when watching a movie about sex, then this scene provokes that reaction. No, this is a mainstream movie which has the power to move both men and women viewers - not least because of a towering central performance by the gloriously sexy Ms Kristel. She is never self-conscious about her body nor at the same time ever flaunts it. Her nudity is completely natural and her joy in her exploration of her sexuality totally convincing.
This is because Kristel - and a high-profile supporting cast - are all extremely capable actors, and are very well directed by Jaeckin. I guess one should not take the overall premise of totally liberated sexual experimentation too seriously, but you completely believe in the characters and want them to come out of the other side unscathed. I first saw this movie as an 18-year-old on its original release, saw it again with its original French dialogue in Paris several years later and have watched it countless times on video and TV since. Yet it still retains the same erotic charge as it did all those years ago. How Kristel managed to completely fail to live up to it in her subsequent films is completely beyond me. The rest of her Emmanuelle series are unsexy and even seedy by comparison and her ventures into American films offered her nothing of any substance. I believe Hollywood missed a glorious opportunity to create an top international star.
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on March 18, 1999
What stands out first and foremost in this '70s sexsploitation flick is the natural beauty of all the female leads, particularly Sylvia Krystal. Although hardcore porn fans may not find the scenes revealing enough, I feel there is a lot to be said about leaving something to the imagination. I would recommend skipping through the rape scenes which seem oddly out of place. This movie can by no means be taken seriously, but if you enjoy unaugmented women who are relatively competent actresses, you'll love the sexual aristeia of Emmanuelle.
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on April 29, 2005
An Adult, not rated, film

This is the first film in a trilogy (there are actually some other films that followed, just like Asimov's Foundation "Trilogy" ended up being more than three books) that stars Sylvia Kristel as Emmanuelle and spawned a large number of copy-cats (most of which go by the name Emanuelle). This particular film is based on Emmanuelle Arsan's 1957 book "Emmanuelle." This film also stars Alain Cuny, and Marika Green and co-starred Daniel Sarky, Jeannie Colletin, and Christine Boisson. The film's director, Just Jacekin, also directed "The Story of O."

This is a film about a couple in an open marriage living in Bangkok, the husband is a diplomat. The film opens with Emmanuelle in Paris getting ready to head off to join her husband in Bangkok for the first time. Once she arrives, she is introduced to the Bangkok culture and the Europeans living there (and their loose ways).

There are numerous interesting scenes, like: when the Thai butler chases after one of the maids and "mauls" her; when the Europeans living in Bangkok gather together and socialize next to a pool, and one of the woman flirt with Emmanuelle (some top-less, some completely nude, like Emmanuelle, extended scene of her and another woman swimming nude underwater); the scene when one of the women from the pool party shows up and touches Emmanuelle while she is sleeping, and then later, top-less, they talk on the porch and both pleasure themselves (Emmanuelle: as she recalls her activities aboard the plane on the trip to Bangkok where a man just walked up to her and started fondling her and more right there in the open and others, separately, joined in the fun); the lesbian scene at the racquetball club; then the numerous scenes with the female Bee and Emmanuelle traveling in Thailand; another scene at the athletic club, this one in the locker room; then the numerous scenes where Emmanuelle is under the control of an older man who forces her to do things she might not particularly like with various strange men, and some things which are definitely rape.

Red-headed Emmanuelle is something of an experienced yet naive girl in this first film in the trilogy, until she is lead into "eroticism" by an older man (that older man's lessons: love between couple's should be outlawed, every act should include three people). In this film there are scenes seen through the point of view of Emmanuelle and some through the POV of her husband.

An interesting little film that seems to be of a higher quality than you might find now-days, but still seems to be nothing more than an excuse to jump from one "adult" scene to another, with some non-adult scenes in-between.

Interesting little trailer, notes that the French president banned it forever, until a new government "set it free." Oddly enough, until I watched it again for review, I thought this had been a better movie than I now think of it. (4.10)
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on September 12, 2003
This is older softcore, and doesn't show as much as some of what is out today. Also, it attempts to have a storyline, so the sex scenes are spread out more than some of the modern softcore. However, this movie is very hot. Three or four of the action scenes really worked for me, while the remaining scenes ranged from pretty good to weak.

The storyline itself is weak, in my opinion, as it revolves around people who are trying to out-do each other when it comes to having sex. The philosophical mumbo-jumbo the film spouts is rubbish, and is used to justify the betrayal/rape that occurs about 3/4ths of the way through the movie.

My favorite scene is a scene near the start, where Sylvia and a young lady visitor are sitting on a porch, and the visitor unzips her shorts, sticks her hand down, and brings herself off. She never takes her shorts off, so your view of the action is not as good as it would be in one of today's films, but the scene was still very hot, with Sylvia looking a bit shocked as she watched the young almost-stranger going at it.

This is the sort of "emotional overtone" that gives it more erotic energy, and is what makes this movie better than most softcore films that have wall-to-wall action scenes, full nudity, etc., but no energy, excitement, or emotion.

I give the film only 4 stars because of the two "forced/rape" scenes. To be honest, I do like scenes where the girl starts off saying "no" but winds up saying, or means, "yes." My problem with the scenes from Emmanuelle (especially the "main" one) is that the girl was still saying "no" at the end, and appeared to really mean "no"--although the storyline indicates otherwise. I found that to be a real turn-off.
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on December 25, 2012
No good, is missing many good parts of the whole movie, I watched this movie in the theater and it was very good,but I ordered on and this version has many cuts,I'm disappointed.
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on December 26, 1998
A hot and outstanding piece of erotic art. This is Sylvia Kristel's only great movie. Her beauty was at her peak then, and she was well directed. The director, Just Jaeckin, has a superb ability to present sensuality and sex. His movies have the photographic qualities found in the works of: Richard Avedon, Sante D'Orazio and Richard Hamilton. Just Jaeckin cinematic narrative is as exciting as that of the masters of sensual literature. The music is so good that you will want to buy the soundtrack by itself.
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This is the first of the three original Emmanuelle movies, the ones starring Sylvia Kristel. There were lots of imitators, most ranging from bad to worse and beyond. At the time of the first Emmanuelle, though none of that had yet happened - please hold that happy thought. Perhaps those three weren't high art, but they're generally good entertainment for adults.

Back in the 70s, this was a groundbreaking movie. It was openly erotic, and openly meant for the general public. I'll leave the social commentary to others. For me, it's just a beautiful movie. It's set in beautiful tropical locations. It stars beautiful actresses, back before implants were part of the uniform. Most of all, it shows beautiful (if artificial) exchanges of physical affection between Emmanuelle and just about everyone, man and woman.

Still, there were a few things about this movie that I didn't care for. It usually depicts Emmanuelle as a passive figure, to be led and acted upon. I prefer the stronger character in the sequel. Later parts of the movie depict coercion, something I really don't care for. The haughty poseur at the end was annoying, but distantly true to the book. Still, book's fans shouldn't get their hopes up. This movie is its own creature, and pleasant enough if taken on its own terms.

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on June 7, 2016
The 2015 Lionsgate reissue of EMMANUELLE is very different to the old 2003 Anchor bay dvd
both dvd versions have the same 94min Unrated cut which had a Graphic rape scene of Emmanuelle
and some other explicit sex scenes that were cut from the original Theatrical release
but the extras are very Different
the 2003 Anchor bay Emmanuelle collection dvd which is tragically out of print now
had the 3 Emmanuelle films over 3 Discs inside foldout Digi-pak
all 3 films are Unrated and they're Definitely uncut
1st is 1:78:1 ratio with English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo with a 17mins retrospective featurette Joys of Emmanuelle
which has new 2002 interviews with Sylvia kristel, Director Just Jaekin & producer Yves roussard
the prodcuers interview is French with English subtitles, Sylvia's & Just interviews are English
Sylvia kristel speaks excellent English for foreign actress
the 2nd Disc is Emmanuelle 2 in much wider ratio 2:35:1 ratio with again English 2.0 Dolby digital
the picture quality looks excellent Anchor bay made the effort with both 1 & 2 Emmanuelles
there's another 10min retrospective interview on the making of the sequel
with the same interviews as the first featurette, it's a continuation of the previous 17mins featurette
and the 3rd Disc which has Goodbye emmanuelle in the same 2:35:1 ratio & the same English stereo mix
the 3rd making of featurette is the last 9mins with Sylvia kristel & the french Director & producer of the previous 2 films
if played together, it's a long 27min interview with all 3 contributors talking about their experiences making Emmanuelle 1,2,3
but for some stupid reason Anchor bay decided to edit the interviews into 3 seperate featurettes
i think it would've been much better to have the whole 27min interviews together on Disc 1
cause for the first 15mins all 3 of them are talking about the first Emmanuelle film anyway.

the extras on the Lionsgate dvd is EROTIC SUCCESS- MAKING OF EMMANUELLE
which is 50min French TV broadcast in French with English subtitles
you get interviews with the writer, producer, Director of Emmanuelle, plus French film Historians
no interview with Sylvia kristel, no interviews with any of the actors from the film
which is U.S. retrospective featurette on the original Emmanuelle film- 25mins
the Anchor bay dvd is worth getting more because the 3 featurettes on each 3 Discs
are interviews with Sylvia kristel, Director Just Jaekin & the Producer Yves roussard
tragically Sylvia kristel died of Lung & throat cancer at age 60 few years ago
apparently she was a chain smoker thru her whole career so she was about 50 year old when she did the Anchor bay interview
but it's your Decision, does not have the anchor bay dvd listed anymore it's long out of print
so your better off looking for a used copy on
5 stars for the Anchor bay dvd, maybe 3 stars for the Lionsgate dvd the extras are the only highlights on the Lionsgate dvd
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on November 11, 2007
Considering the limited budget and difficulty finding actors to play in Emmanuelle Arsan novel and the effort by the producers and director to stick to the original book in defiance to censorship of the times, I would rate the movie 5 Stars. Sylvia Kristel performance was a major force in the success and popularity of the movie. Other actors put in a fair effort in support. The story line is excellent and content outstanding. I enjoyed the music, exotic locations whether real or studio, made it all look real and worked well.
A break-through for its time and it is still ahead by todays standards, connoisseurs of fine art erotic movies will find this deliciously enjoyable. I only wish all of the erotic scenes that were removed, to pass censorship, were again included in this version, maybe one day it will be when society matures.
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on July 20, 2000
The scenic cinematography was beautiful, with lots of soft focus and a bright, low-contrast, slightly-overexposed look. The people cinematograph varied with the mood, sometimes soft focus, and sometimes a sharp or even harsh look. Emanuelle was bored and looking for excitement, and the movie's look reflected that.
The actresses were all beautiful, with very natural-looking bodies, skillful use of cosmetics, and attractive lighting. Their acting looked very natural too, whether they were dressed or not. (However, I don't speak French, so I can't judge very well how the dialog was performed.) The sex scenes were not explicit, but they were quite titillating, for part of the movie at least. Sylvia Kristel radiated sexuality even when fully-dressed.
Even the story started out decent. Emanuelle was an upper-class European wife in Asia, and expected not to work -- an understandably boring situation for her. Since she was in an open marriage, she tried sexual experimentation to fill her time. That led to a few somewhat-interesting adventures and good soft-core sex scenes.
Unfortunately the story introduced Emanuelle to Mario, who took her on an unpleasant odyssey of sexual situations. No matter how bored or sexually adventurous a woman might be, I couldn't imagine her appreciating Mario's idea of a good time. Her actions, while well-acted, made no sense. The sex scenes involving Mario were neither credible nor erotic. What happened to the Emanuelle who defied her peers' advice and spend time with Bee? Why couldn't she just tell Mario to get lost?
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