Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

When Harry Met Sally... (1989)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

When Harry Met Sally... (1989)

In Rob Reiner's popular romantic comedy from Nora Ephron's script:

  • the various vignettes of elderly couples reflecting on their relationships (with one-liners such as: " know a great melon")
  • the film's premise: can a man and a woman be friends without sex becoming an issue?, and the eleven year friendship/relationship between journalist Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) and political consultant Harry Burns (Billy Crystal)
  • the roadside cafe scene of fussy Sally ordering apple pie and ice cream during a 1977 car trip from Chicago to NYC: ("I'd like the chef salad, please, with the oil and vinegar on the side. And the apple pie a la mode....But I'd like the pie heated, and I don't want the ice cream on top. I want it on the side. And I'd like strawberry instead of vanilla if you have it. If not, then no ice cream, just whipped cream, but only if it's real. If it's out of a can, then nothing." Waitress: "Not even the pie?" Sally: "No, just the pie. But then not heated")
  • the scene of Harry describing his recurring sex fantasy dream to Sally: "I had my dream again - where I'm making love and the Olympic judges are watching? I've nailed the compulsories, so this is it: the finals. I got a 9.8 from the Canadian, a perfect 10 from the American. And my mother, disguised as an East German judge, gave me a 5.6. Must've been the dismount"; then it was Sally's turn to describe her 'embarrassing' sex dream: "Basically it's the same one I've been having since I was 12...OK, there's this guy...He's just kinda faceless...He rips off my clothes...That's it...Sometimes I vary it a little...What I'm wearing"
  • the "high-maintenance/low-maintenance" split-screen phone discussion between Harry and Sally, while they were both watching the conclusion of Casablanca from their respective beds: Harry: "There are two kinds of women: high maintenance and low maintenance...You're the worst kind; you're high maintenance but you think you're low maintenance....You don't see that? Waiter, I'll begin with a house salad, but I don't want the regular dressing. I'll have the balsamic vinegar and oil, but on the side. And then the salmon with the mustard sauce, but I want the mustard sauce on the side. 'On the side' is a very big thing for you..."
  • the crowded New York deli-restaurant scene of Sally's fully-clothed, simulated orgasm with table-beating and ecstatic moans and gasps ("Ooooh. Oh, God. Oooooh. Oh God!..."), foot-noted by an elderly patron (director Rob Reiner's mother Estelle) exclaiming to the waiter at a nearby table: "I'll have what she's having"
  • the scene of the simultaneous, split-screen four-way phone call, when Harry called his friend Jess (Bruno Kirby) and Sally called her friend Marie (Carrie Fisher) to tell them that they had just had sex - and when the call was finished, Marie asked Jess: "Tell me I never have to be out there again"
  • the last scene in which Harry frantically ran down a New York street (to the tune of Sinatra's "It Had to Be You") toward a hotel's crowded New Year's Eve party where he finally reached Sally and expressed his love to her ("...I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible")


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