Skip to main content

When Harry Met Sally…, the legendary rom-com movie written by Nora Ephron and starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal, is a perfect New Year’s Eve watch, considering its final scene. What makes that last moment, during the countdown to midnight, so special? And where can you find the movie streaming online?

[Spoiler alert for the end of When Harry Met Sally…].

Some of the iconic ‘When Harry Met Sally…’ quotes and moments were improvised by the cast

Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal pose for the movie When Harry Met Sally
Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal pose for the movie When Harry Met Sally… | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, When Harry Met Sally... director Rob Reiner, talked about all the most memorable moments from the classic romantic comedy.

“The thing about Billy is he comes off as this sweet guy,” Reiner said. That wasn’t going to work for Harry in the opening scene; the two main characters are both leaving college to drive to New York together — and don’t exactly hit it off.

“I wanted to make him a little bit rougher around the edges to start,” the director explained. “So we came up with this idea of him eating the grapes.”

The grapes weren’t in the movie script — but Crystal was on board, offering “I can just be spitting the seeds out the window.”

“That’s what gave Harry a little bit more abruptness,” Reiner shared. “Billy and I just came up with that on set as we were doing it.”

The story behind that legendary New Year’s Eve scene

However, the end of When Harry Met Sally... is a big part of what makes the rom-com timeless.

In the final scene of the movie, the two main characters meet up at a New Year’s Eve party, and Harry confesses his love for Sally.

“I love the way your nose crinkles,” he tells her (something Crystal apparently improvised). And then, there’s his amazing quote: “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.”

Harry finally says all the right things — and how does Sally respond?

“I hate you,” she tells him.

According to Reiner, Ryan could have said anything in that moment.

“It doesn’t matter what she says because, if you turn the sound off, you can see Meg,” the director told Entertainment Weekly. “She’s in love. She’s fallen in love, and she wants to be with him.”

Princess Diana, attends the Premiere of When Harry met Sally
The Princess of Wales, Princess Diana, speaking to Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal at the London premiere of When Harry Met Sally… on Nov. 30, 1989 | Kent Gavin/Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

Jenna Fischer Improvised a Line in ‘The Office’ to Pay Homage to ‘When Harry Met Sally…’

‘When Harry Met Sally…’ almost had a different ending

However, that fairy-tale ending was almost … not.

“Initially they weren’t going to get together,” Reiner revealed in the interview. He and Ephron originally wanted them to stay apart. The When Harry Met Sally… director explained:

We had it where time goes by, they run into each other in the street … and then they walk in opposite directions. I’d been single for 10 years after having been married for 10 years, and I just couldn’t figure out how it would work again.

However, a change of fate in the filmmaker’s personal life — meeting “his future wife, Michele Singer, during filming” changed everything.

Once Reiner found his own happy ending, he shared it with Harry and Sally.

Is the movie streaming to watch online for New Year’s?

When Harry Met Sally… is currently available for free to HBO Max subscribers. Viewers can also rent the film on Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, GooglePlay and Vudu.