History | Scene 1 | Scene 2 | Versions | Rumors

History

    In 1971 ACO was originally released with an X rating. Back then this meant no children under 16 (today it is called NC-17), which differs from today's X which is no one under 21. By 1972 it became popular for porno films to give themselves a X rating. If you didn't submit your film to be rated it would also get an X automatically. This created a problem. Before 1972 it didn't usually matter if a mainstream film like Clockwork had an X rating as people knew they weren't pornography. In 1972 many newspapers adopted a policy of not advertising X rated films and mainstream theaters would no longer show them because of the porno stigma. Three major cities - Dallas, Chicago and Miami refused to advertise ACO in their local papers. Kubrick at first refused to give the theaters the prints if the papers wouldn't advertise the film. Eventually when word of mouth spread how good the film was they wanted the film and Kubrick relented.
    The film was released on 12/19/71 for a special limited pre-release in 4 theaters. February 1972 began the limited general release and June was the general release. This is an unfathomable change from films of today which open on 3,000+ screens the first weekend then disappear after a month. On 8/25/72 Kubrick eventually decided he better make some changes to the film to get an R rating if it was to turn a profit. No scenes were cut out and the film was not shortened. Only 30 seconds of film were replaced with less graphic footage. The only problem is when a director pulled a film, it couldn't just be put back out. It has to be resubmitted to get a new rating. So ACO was pulled out of theaters on October, 31 1972 and came back with the R-rating on January 1, 1973 only in the USA. In the UK for example the film was never recut.
    Since in this "new" version the story isn't affected at all, it has been believed that this version has never been seen again. It wasn't until the home video age that the film was restored back to its' original glory completely unbeknownst and unannounced to the public for the 15th anniversary in 1986. The giveaway is on the box it reads 138 minutes. Since times have changed it is listed as an R now which lead to confusion that it is the cut version. No home release ever had an X rating on the package as the film has been unofficially reclassified as an R.

Scene 1 - The threesome with the record shop girls

This is a great shot of the differences between widescreen and full screen as well.
Blond Falling of the bed X vs. R comparison

X-rated:
There are more graphic sexual position shots of Alex with the blond including one where he mounts her from behind and more time is spent with both girls at once in the last shots. Instead of cutting anything these shots are completely replaced by totally new footage.

R-rated:
Some close-up genital contact was removed. The new footage right near the end shows less threesome contact. At one point the blond girl falls off the end of the bed  and Alex picks her up and fools with her at the head of the bed. The brunette goes to the end of the bed and picks up a pillow. Then the blond leans against the wall while Alex goes and messes with the brunette. 

Scene 2 - The rape sequence in the Ludovico film

First malchick X vs. R comparison
Second malchick X vs. R comparison

Third malchick/Dr. Branom X vs. R comparison

X-rated:
Right after some guys punch a man whose face is left all bloody the film cuts to a rape sequence. When Alex says "first one malchick, then another, then another" three different guys are shown raping the pink haired girl. The first guy has a wider shot so more is seen of him laying on top of her and his droogs holding her legs open. The second guy is shown from the side and the front and a third guy is shown.

R-rated:
The shots of the first guy are closer so you can only she the girl from the breasts up and the head of the first guy, there one shot of the second guy from the side and instead of showing the third guy there is a cut to Dr. Branom watching.

Versions

Many people even today still believe the X-rated version has been lost forever and they'll never see it, but it is just the opposite. The R-rated version was released on VHS and Beta in 1980, CED in 1983, Laserdisc and VHS in green covers in 1984, then never again. The version seen on HBO around 1982 was also the R-rated version. If you don't have those versions then you've actually never seen the R-rated one, only the X.

All DVD releases are the original X-rated version, no matter which country you live in.

In 1982 ACO was re-released to theaters for its' 10th Anniversary and classified as R and is believed to be the edited version.

In 2000 when ACO was reshown in the UK it was a completely restored and remastered print.

Rumors

Claims which turned out NOT to be true.

For ACO's 25th anniversary in 1996, the original version was rumored to be released to theaters. For whatever reason it didn't happen.

For the WB's 75th Anniversary film festival in 1998 it was again rumored that when ACO was included it would be a restored/remastered version, but it was the same old print that broke during the Houston screening.

The X-rated version had several slow motion scenes that were changed to normal speed in the R-rated version, including the gang fight in the theater ruins, and Alex being hit by the milk bottle.

The X-rated version shows frontal nudity of Alex in the initial rape scene and at the very end it shows Alex running through the snow nude chasing the girl.

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