When Harry Met Sally originally had an unhappy ending – until the director met his wife

Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally
(Image credit: Columbia Pictures)

When Harry Met Sally is one of the best and most beloved rom-coms of all time, but director Rob Reiner recently revealed that the movie could have had a very different ending. 

"The original ending of the film that we had was that Harry and Sally didn't get together," he told CNN. "Because I had been married for 10 years, I'd been single for 10 years, and I couldn't figure out how I was ever going to be with anybody. And that gave birth to When Harry Met Sally. 

"And I hadn't met anybody, so it was going to be the two of them seeing each other after years, talking, and then walking away from each other. I met my wife Michele, who I’ve been married to now 35 years. I met her while we were making the film, and I changed the ending."

Of course, the movie actually ends with Harry (Billy Crystal) racing through the streets of New York City to meet Sally (Meg Ryan) at a New Year's Eve party before the clock strikes midnight. The pair had fought a few weeks prior after sleeping together for the first time and hadn't spoken since. Breathless, Harry arrives at the party and recites a now-iconic speech detailing the reasons he loves Sally, and they kiss as Auld Lang Syne starts to play. 

The film, first released in 1989 and written by Nora Ephron, follows the pair's will-they-won't-they friendship over the course of 10 years, starting with a tense post-grad car share from the University of Chicago to New York and culminating in that New Year's kiss. 

For more rom-coms (and a whole lot more), check out our picks of the best LGBT romances and the best anti-Valentine's Day movies

Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.