Thanks to its climactic big finish (no, not that big finish), When Harry Met Sally… is certainly one of the stand-out films about New Year’s Eve. A case could also be made, however, that it’s one of the stand-out romantic comedies of all time as well, both now and forever.
Here are 11 reasons why it’s a cut above the rest.
But you don’t have to take our word for it; judge for yourself during Bravo’s New Year, New Love Marathon, December 31 – January 3.
Proof ‘When Harry Met Sally…’ might be the most perfect rom-com ever
Naturally, it was hate at first sightDuring the Harry and Sally's first encounter—a road trip from Chicago to New York—they consistently drive one another crazy. This kind of shaky start is a rom-com prerequisite.MGM
We heart New YorkOften described as a more accessible Woody Allen movie, When Harry Met Sally… gets a great deal of mileage out of Allen's favourite city. No matter how you feel about the characters, you'll certainly find yourself in love with New York by the time the credits roll.MGM
True love always winsEven if you don't relate to the neuroses of the central couple, you should find something to connect with in the film's many other romances, which are relayed through interstitial testimonials. Though performed by actors, these anecdotes are all based on real love stories.MGM
"I'll have what she's having"Meg Ryan's simulated orgasm in Katz's Deli has gone on to become the film's most iconic and imitated scene. According to late screenwriter Nora Ephron, this was entirely Ryan's idea.MGM
It's ridiculously quotableSpeaking of famous lines... Though an acclaimed essayist, Nora Ephron was relatively new to screenwriting when she wrote When Harry Met Sally… Nevertheless, the influence of her witty, insightful banter has been so widespread in the decades since that it's easy to forget just how rare this kind of dialogue was in the 1989.MGM
Even the improvised stuff is goldEphron earned a valuable assist from the film's talented cast, particularly in the Pictionary sequence. Thanks to these memorable two minutes, "baby fish mouth" is now synonymous with "baby talk," and Bruno Kirby's instruction to Meg Ryan to "draw something...resembling anything" has pretty much become the game's unofficial tagline.MGM
It's funny because it's trueWhen Harry Met Sally… is undeniably a romantic comedy but it spends such a long time in unrequited love territory that it's also an exhaustive study of male-female friendship. Harry and Sally ultimately confirm the theory that men and women can't just be friends, but it takes them several years to get there.MGM
You really, really want them to end up togetherAside from a couple of doomed and/or short-lived relationships, little is keeping Harry and Sally apart—except their own mammoth neuroses. Since there's no good reason they can't get together, there's a constant sense that this is about to happen, giving the film an urgency that is almost unheard of in rom-coms.MGM
Ryan and Crystal were at the top of their gamesWithin a few years of When Harry Met Sally…, Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal had settled into relatively bland career paths but both were at the peak of their charming powers in 1989.MGM
There's a happy endingRom-com conclusions are known for being false and unconvincing, but When Harry Met Sally… delivers a happy ending that feels genuinely earned. After all, the characters have been consistently deprived for the previous 90 minutes. The least Ephron and director Rob Reiner can do is give them is a happy ending.MGM
It's where it all beganWhether it's Notting Hill, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days or The Ugly Truth, no rom-com made after 1989 is complete without at least one reference to When Harry Met Sally… And that's just how we like it.Universal Pictures