The dubbed U.S. version was originally rated X in 1974. An alternate, R-rated version was released later in 1974, having trimmed or removed all the more explicit sex scenes. In 1984, the uncut version was rereleased in the U.S. with and X rating. That version is currently available unrated on video.
For its original UK cinema release the film suffered BBFC cuts to reduce the sex scenes, a masturbation sequence and to completely remove a club scene where a woman smokes a cigarette through her vagina, and the film was withdrawn in 1978 by censor James Ferman to make an additional cut, removing the entire scene of Emmanuelle being raped in an opium den. The 1990 video release saw many of the cinema cuts restored although 1 minute 25 secs of cuts were retained to the cigarette and rape scenes, and the 2001 Momentum DVD release saw the cigarette scene restored and the cuts to the rape scene reduced to 38 secs. The film was finally passed fully uncut for the 2007 Optimum DVD.
The following are the different video versions of "Emmanuelle"(1974): - 1. Panned & scanned, subtitled, rated "X" (other than the picture cropping, this presumably matches the original US theatrical print, which was NOT dubbed; long out of print) - 2. P&S, dubbed, rated "R" - 3. P&S, dubbed, unrated - 4. Letterboxed, dubbed, unrated - 5. Letterboxed, subtitled, unrated
The only "altering" of the sex scenes is the consequence of the fact that the framings, even in the letterboxed versions, do not match that of the original theatrical presentation. Version 2 disappeared quite quickly (other than copies remaining on the shelves of rental outlets), with the film's audience apparently assuming that the "R" rating meant that "the best parts" had been cut out. Actually, the dropping of the subtitles and the addition of the new dialogue track meant that it was a "different" movie and could be resubmitted to the MPAA for rating. Standards had changed in the more than fifteen years that had passed since the film had originally been given the "X", resulting in the "R." The "unrated" follow-up, hurried into release, faded away by the mid-90s, and versions 4 and 5 are the only ones currently in print.