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The classic romantic comedy “When Harry Met Sally...” celebrates a milestone

Updated: Jan 19, 2019


Billy Crystal stars as Harry and Meg Ryan as Sally. The best friends finally sleep together after Harry helps Sally through a rough patch when she learns her ex is getting married. This is Harry’s reaction after the deed. (Frame shots courtesy of Shout! Factory)

“WHEN HARRY MET SALLY…”: 30th ANNIVERSARY EDITION Blu-ray and DVD; 1989; R for adult material including sexual situations and innuendos, and profanity

Best extra: A new featurette “In Conversation with Rob Reiner and Billy Crystal”

IF YOU haven’t seen “When Harry Met Sally…” you’ve probably been holed up in a cave with no contact from the outside world since roughly 1989. That's when this flick was the sleeper hit of the year.

So ditto if you’ve never laughed about or recreated the scene in which Sally (Meg Ryan) acts like she’s having an orgasm at New York City’s famous Katz’s Delicatessen in front of a vanquished Harry (Billy Crystal).

This is a Rob Reiner (director) flick that keeps reaching generation after generation. Even many millennials know “When Harry Met Sally…”.

Thanks to Shout! Factory and its Shout Select release of this upgraded version - a 4K scan from the original camera negative, which was used to down-convert to Blu-ray quality – today's viewers can revel in this classic.

The new transfer is pleasingly clear with evident natural film grain throughout. Colors are balanced and details pop, like Ryan’s bouncy, blonde curls and Crystal’s not-so-meticulous wig in the beginning of the film when the two meet post-college. The cinematography is gorgeous, with scenes shot in New York City during different seasons. Leaves on the trees in Central Park in the fall look almost too good to be true and the snow almost glistens in the bright, winter sun.

The movie opens up with couples telling their stories about how they met. Although the stories are real, actors recreated the tales.

Sally arrives to pick up Harry for a trip from Chicago to New York City, as the two separately start their post-college lives. She tries to patiently wait for Harry as he makes out with his girlfriend, who is staying behind.

Harry notices that Sally is attractive and tries to hit on her during the trip. Sally balks, prompting Harry to put forth his famous, “men and women can never be friends” theory.

In addition, viewers get one new bonus feature that’s worth the 44-minute run time: “Scenes from a Friendship - An Interview with Rob Reiner and Billy Crystal.” “When Harry Met Sally…” is universally thought to be one of the best romantic comedies of all times, dealing with the age-old questions, can men and women ever really just be friends.

Harry posits that it can’t be done to a very skeptical yet ever-optimistic Sally as the pair drive to New York to start their lives after graduating college. Their relationship is the focal point of the film, even though both find themselves with other people until they run into each other several years after the initial meeting, and the two become friends.

They’re both honest and supportive of each other. They try to set up their best friends (played perfectly by the late Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher) with each of them, but the best friends fall for each other, leading to marriage. Harry and Sally deal with exes and holidays alone, providing the audience with musings about life and getting older. It truly is delightful.

Of course, the best-remembered scene is when Harry and Sally share lunch at Katz’s Deli. The conversation turns to women faking the big “O,” and Harry is incredulous it could happen. Sally proves him wrong while faking it in the middle of the diner, with her pastrami on rye sitting right in front of her. Crystal came up with the line so perfectly delivered by Reiner’s mother just after the faux “O” to a waiter: “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Five years later, the pair runs into each other at the airport, this time Sally is making out with her boyfriend. The two share the same destination and awkwardly reconnect.

Fast-forward another four or five years, and Sally runs into Harry again at a NYC bookstore, this time with her best friend, Marie played by Carrie Fisher.

After the book-store meeting, Harry and Sally do become friends. Here both share tragic lonely-life stories as they walk in Central Park.

While many extras are ported over from previous Blu-ray/DVD releases, the new bonus with Reiner and Crystal waltzing down memory lane about the flick is grand. Why? These two men, now in their early 70’s, reminisce about their friendship, which started in the mid-1970’s on the set of “All in the Family.”  That's where Crystal was hired by Norman Lear to pay Reiner’s (Meathead) best friend. Lear had a sense the two would hit it off in real life because they quickly became best friends while filming the sitcom. You can tell the two are kindred spirits, as close as brothers without the actual relation.

They also both remember clearly how that now-famous scene came about.  Reiner scoffed when film screenwriter Nora Ephron told him women fake orgasms. Crystal and Ryan got involved and talked about adding a scene in the movie that had Ryan faking one in a public place. One thing led to another, and Crystal offered up the famous one-liner. Crystal and Reiner also talk about how Ryan’s first few "orgasms" during filming weren’t that spectacular, so Reiner stepped in to act out an example – in front of his mother. The two laugh about the memory.

Their rapport is magnetic and just plain real.

For the true fans of the movie, and for those who haven’t watched it in years, this movie is worth revisiting. And, it’s so worth introducing others to. Plus, the new bonus feature in many ways covers the same ground that five or six old ones did.

Old bonus features include: Commentary with Reiner; commentary with Reiner, Ephron and Crystal; an extended look at the making of the film released in 2000; vintage featurettes including “Creating Harry” and “Stories of Love” plus other vintage featurettes; deleted scenes; a Harry Connick Jr. music video; and the theatrical trailer.

Sit back and enjoy some movie making history. It’s one of those rare moments where we can have a serving of nonstop laughs – and we don’t have to fake it.

- Toni Guagenti

Harry and Sally move a rug around in Harry’s apartment while Sally tells him he needs to start dating again after his marriage has broken up.

Sally fakes an orgasm in front of everyone at Katz’s Delicatessan after Harry doesn’t believe that women fake them.

New Year’s Eve and Sally and Harry are as close as friends as ever. The tension builds between the two sexually, but both bury their feelings.

Best friends Jess (Bruno Kirby) and Marie try to talk their respective friends down after both call them to confess they’ve slept with each other. This now-famous scene was actually shot using working phones so each could say their lines as written. The number of takes is staggering.

Jess and Marie get married with their best friends standing up for them – but Harry and Sally aren’t talking anymore. Back to awkward for the two. BELOW: Harry finally realizes he has messed up and runs to tell Sally at a New Year’s Eve party. Sally is irate.





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