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)
  • in the film's early road trip sequence during a 1977 18-hour car trip from Chicago to NYC, the roadside cafe scene of fussy and proper Sally Albright with slobbish student Harry ordering apple pie and ice cream: "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"; the Waitress asked: "Not even the pie?"; Sally answered: "No, just the pie. But then not heated" - while Harry just ordered: "the Number Three"
  • 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 notorious, crowded New York deli-restaurant scene of Sally's fully-clothed, simulated orgasm with table-beating and ecstatic moans and gasps to prove to Harry how most women occasionally fake orgasms: ("Ooooh. Oh, God. Oooooh. Oh God!..."); she demonstrated with her stereotyped orgasmic display of a loud and long series of pants, groans, gasps, hair rufflings, caresses, table poundings, and ecstatic releases; as she finished climaxing, she yelled: "Yes, Yes, YES! YES! YES!"; her simulation was 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"

Simulated Orgasm

"I'll have what she's having"
  • the scene of the simultaneous, split-screen four-way phone call the next day, 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, just after the stroke of midnight: ("How about this way? I love that you get cold when it's seventy-one degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're lookin' at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely. And it's not because it's New Year's Eve. 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")
  • Sally reacted with a moving mixture of frustration, longing, loving, wariness and desperation, feeling manipulated, but she also was gradually melting to him; she responded, after which they passionately kissed: ("You see. That is just like you, Harry. You say things like that, and you make it impossible for me to hate you, and I hate you, Harry. I really hate you. I hate you"); the camera pulled back after theyy had finally conquered their doubts over the budding romance born of an initially platonic friendship years earlier
  • after discussing the meaning of the song Auld Lang Syne, they kissed again as the camera pulled up and away from them, showing them engulfed by others on the dance floor as the film concluded

Elderly Couples

Sally's Fussy Apple Pie Order

Sharing Recurring Sex Dreams

Split Screen High-Maintenance/Low Maintenance Discussion

Their First Instance of Sex - Apres-Sex

4-Way Phone Call

Ending Image at New Year's Eve Party


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