When Harry Met Sally Almost Had A Super Depressing Ending

Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally

When Harry Met Sally is one of the great classic romantic comedies. Billy Chrystal and Meg Ryan are perfect together as a pair of great friends who eventually become something more. However, it turns out that originally that's not where the movie ended. Rob Reiner recently revealed that in the original script for the movie, the two main characters didn't get together, instead, the film ended with them crossing paths years after the events of the main story, and then going their separate ways. According to Reiner...

I was single for ten years and making a mess of my personal life, in and out of relationships and not being able to make anything work. The first draft of the script --- or the draft we were going to shoot --- Harry and Sally weren't going to get together. They meet each other years later and then walk separate ways.

They say "write what you know" and apparently what Rob Reiner knew at the time was not living happily ever after with somebody you fell in love with. While Nora Ephron is credited with the screenplay for When Harry Met Sally, Reiner and Billy Crystal both worked on the story as well during production, and this was apparently one of Reiner's contributions. However, he tells Entertainment Weekly that, while filming the movie he met the woman who would eventually become his wife and the experienced changed his perception. In fact, it enabled him to rewrite the ending, resulting in the pair staying together. Reiner mentions that Crystal actually improvised a lot of his dialogue in the final scene, giving an indication that the new ending wasn't even really complete when it was shot ahead of its big screen debut.

Considering how iconic the movie and the ending actually are in the history of romantic comedies, it's surprising to learn that not only was the movie originally written with a more bittersweet finale, but that it actually began filming with that ending in mind. Everybody, including the two stars, apparently signed on to the movie with that ending; one has to wonder if everybody else was so on board with such a drastic change.

Of course, now it's impossible to think about When Harry Met Sally ending any other way. Here's how the movie actually ended,

In my opinion, that's much better. While some romantic films have had very strong endings by not being so romantic, generally, we like to see these relationships work out and everybody be happy in the end. Luckily, that's what ended up happening to Harry and Sally. Clearly, the right choice was made here.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.