The first Emmanuelle film was the the French Emmanuelle with the Dutch actress Sylvia Kristel in the title role. She came to be the actress best identified with the role. This film pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable on screen, with sex scenes, skinny-dipping, masturbation, the “Mile High Club”, rape, and a scene in which a dancer lights a cigarette and puffs it with her vagina. This film was created and directed by the French director Just Jaeckin.

Unlike many films that tried to avoid an X-rating, the first Emmanuelle film embraced it, and became a success with a viewing audience estimated at 300 million.

Several sequels starring Kristel followed, beginning with Emmanuelle 2 known as Emmanuelle: The Joys of a Woman in its US release, and also Emmanuelle l’antivierge in some European press materials, including the soundtrack LP and CD.

Kristel stepped away from the role in the 1980s, yielding to younger actresses, but returned for the seventh feature film and continued to make cameo appearances as an older Emmanuelle in cable TV films. She also appeared in films that capitalized on or parodied her Emmanuelle image, such as the American sex comedy Private Lessons.

After the initial success a series of different versions were created as a try to revoke the magic. The clip below is from Emanuelle in Venice, a TV-production from 1993. Remember that the Emanuelle movies put a lot of kinks into the hands of a mainstream audience. Even though the production from 1993 has a bit of cheesy music, it’s still highly erotic and who doesn’t enjoy a good spanking of a french maid?

The Emanuelle movies are considered by me as mandatory if you want to dig deep into the history of erotica and depicted BDSM.