Skip to Content

What’s the famous line from When Harry Met Sally?

When Harry Met Sally is a romantic comedy film released in 1989 starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. It follows Harry and Sally, who meet after sharing a car ride from Chicago to New York after college and remain friends for the next 12 years. Over the course of their friendship, they debate whether men and women can ever just be friends without sex getting in the way.

The film became known for exploring the question “Can men and women ever just be friends?” and features one of the most famous and beloved lines in romantic comedy history, uttered by Sally while she and Harry are having lunch at Katz’s Delicatessen in New York City.

The Scene at Katz’s Delicatessen

In the scene, Sally and Harry are having lunch at Katz’s Delicatessen, arguing over whether Harry would be able to tell if a woman is faking an orgasm. Sally boldly claims that women at times have faked orgasms, even with Harry. Harry insists that he would be able to tell if a woman was faking.

To prove her point, Sally launches into an exaggerated fake orgasm scene, loudly moaning and shouting right in the middle of the crowded deli, with customers turning to stare. She screams, “Yes, yes, yes!” before finally subsiding and calmly returning to her meal while other patrons look on in shock.

The Famous Line

After Sally’s over-the-top fake orgasm scene ends, a woman sitting nearby, played by Estelle Reiner, tells the waiter, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

This funny and memorable line perfectly encapsulates the entire scene, with the woman implying that whatever Sally experienced must have been so pleasurable that she wants the same thing.

The line “I’ll have what she’s having” has gone down as one of the most famous quotes in rom-com history and became an instantly iconic line from When Harry Met Sally.

The Impact and Legacy

The scene and the famous line are considered by many to be one of the most memorable and hilarious moments in romantic comedy films.

The line was entirely improvised by Reiner in the moment, adding to its humor and impact. Director Rob Reiner, Carl Reiner’s son, decided to leave it in and has said it got one of the biggest laughs from test audiences of any scene.

“I’ll have what she’s having” has endured as one of the most unforgettable lines of dialogue in When Harry Met Sally and in the romantic comedy genre overall. The scene and line showcase writer Nora Ephron’s talent for clever, insightful dialogue and situations that would resonate with audiences.

The line is still frequently referenced and parodied decades later as an iconic phrase representing female pleasure and empowerment. It features on lists of best movie lines and quotes, leaving a lasting cultural impact.

The Broader Meaning and Analysis

On a deeper level, the famous line and the orgasm scene touch on the film’s central theme of whether friendship between men and women is possible without the complications of sex getting in the way.

Sally feels the need to prove to Harry that women can convincingly fake pleasure, suggesting unfulfilling sexual dynamics between men and women. The line implies Sally really was having pleasure and enjoyment from their “just friends” lunch date.

The line and the orgasm scene underscore the sexual tension constantly bubbling under Harry and Sally’s friendship, even though they insist sex hasn’t gotten in the way.

Culturally, the scene also depicts women reclaiming sensuality and pleasure for themselves in a public sphere while frankly discussing female sexuality, at the time still a taboo.

Other Memorable Quotes

While “I’ll have what she’s having” remains the most famous, When Harry Met Sally contains other memorable and insightful quotes that reflect its smart, funny take on relationships:

– Harry: “Men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.”

– Sally: “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.”

– Marie: “When you find the right one, you know it. It’s just like, click.”

– Jess: “Everybody thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor but they couldn’t possibly all have good taste.”

These quotes touch on the romantic ideals and realities that Harry and Sally contend with, providing witty perspective on dating, friendship, and love.

Key Details About the Scene

– The scene takes place at Katz’s Delicatessen in New York City, a hugely popular deli known for its pastrami sandwiches.

– Sally and Harry sit at table 43 during the scene, which now has a sign saying “Where Harry Met Sally…Hope you have what she had!”

– Estelle Reiner, who delivered the famous line, was director Rob Reiner’s mother and had other small roles in Rob Reiner films.

– The woman who says the line was originally meant to say “I’ll have the usual” but Estelle Reiner improvised the now-iconic line.

– Harry’s reaction after the line is delivered was completely natural and genuine, adding to the humor.

– The scene was filmed late at night with regular Katz’s customers who were surprised by what transpired.

Behind the Scenes of the Scene

Some fascinating behind the scenes details around filming the iconic “I’ll have what she’s having” scene include:

– It took multiple takes to film the scene, so customers had to witness Meg Ryan’s exaggerated ecstasy more than once.

– The deli left its lights on late at night after closing to accommodate filming.

– Director Rob Reiner intentionally chose regular-looking Katz’s patrons as extras to capture natural reactions.

– Meg Ryan has said it was embarrassing performing the fake orgasm with Billy Crystal as her audience.

– The scene was choreographed like a football play, with diagrams mapping out lines and actions.

– Meg Ryan modeled the over-the-top noises and reactions on how When Harry Met Sally screenwriter Nora Ephron said she faked orgasms.

– Crystal kept ruining takes by laughing at Ryan’s realistic-sounding yet absurd outbursts during the scene.

Impact on Katz’s Deli

Filming the iconic scene at Katz’s Delicatessen cemented the deli as a New York cultural landmark and destination for tourists and fans. Impacts include:

– Lines at Katz’s regularly stretch out the door, with people wanting photos at the orgasm table.

– Katz’s sells thousands of t-shirts a year with quotes from the scene printed on them.

– The orgasm table and a sign commemorating the film draw visitors from around the world.

– Thanks to the film, Katz’s sells far more tickets for entry just to see the deli than they do for actual food.

– Millions of people see Katz’s Deli each year solely because of its role in the unforgettable scene.

– Katz’s estimates at least 10% of its business comes from Harry Met Sally pilgrims.

The film forever changed Katz’s into a must-see tourist magnet.

Pop Culture References and Parodies

The orgasm scene and famous line have been relentlessly parodied, referenced, and woven into pop culture over the decades, speaking to their huge cultural impact:

TV Show/Movie Reference Description
Sex and the City Samantha performs a loud fake orgasm at a restaurant, annoying Carrie who says “I’ll have what she’s having”
You’ve Got Mail Kathleen’s friend says “I’ll have what she’s having” at cafe after Kathleen says Joe Fox made her feel delirious
The Simpsons Apu’s wife has a loud orgasm and neighbor Ned Flanders says “I’ll have what she’s having”
Family Guy Lois experiences loud pleasure from a hot dog and a female patron says “I’ll have what she’s having”

The scene and line have inspired endless similar moments and creative references in the worlds of film, TV sitcoms, cartoons, commercials, viral videos, memes, and more. Almost every homage plays off the public nature of Sally’s outburst and the bemused reaction.

The ubiquity of the references speak to the indelible mark the scene has left on popular culture and how it is shorthand for female ecstasy and a memorable movie moment.


Few movie scenes or lines have remained so engrained in pop culture for so long. The fake orgasm scene and iconic line “I’ll have what she’s having” from When Harry Met Sally deliver a hilarious and memorable highlight in one of the most beloved romantic comedies.

Decades later, the scene and line remain cultural touchstones that are continuously referenced and spoofed. Both perfectly encapsulate the film’s spirit and themes while creating an unforgettable moment showcasing Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal’s comedic talents.

The scene and line have earned a permanent place among the most iconic and influential in film history. When people think of classic movie moments, Meg Ryan faking an orgasm and a bemused woman requesting the same will always come to mind.