A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie, while set against the background of a strong friendship and filled with great romantic role models, contains many references to sex. Though no sex is actually shown, about a quarter of conversation revolves almost completely around the topic. The most famous scene in the movie is a simulated orgasm at a New York deli.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) meet for the first time while sharing a ride from Chicago to New York City. Sally is an uptight, optimistic, and intelligent person, while Harry is a thoughtful, sex-crazed chauvinist. Over a period of 10 years, they bicker, become best friends, and eventually fall in love, answering the age-old question, "Can a man and a woman be friends, without sex getting in the way?"
Is it any good?
Producer Nora Ephron and director Rob Reiner make delightful, timeless romantic classics, and this is their best-known work. Many have tried, but none has succeeded in capturing the charm, wit, and chemistry between Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan shown onscreen in this classic romantic comedy. Every element of this film possesses strength, including the script (supposedly based on Rob Reiner and Nora Ephron's true-to-life on again/off again relationship).
Who can forget such memorable lines as, "Oh, but 'baby fish mouth' is sweeping the nation?" and of course Rob Reiner's mother's declaration of, "I'll have what she's having." This film has a timeless quality that transcends decades, meaning that teenagers may not automatically write it off as an "old movie." As relevant and entertaining today as it was in 1989 and probably still in 2039, WHEN HARRY MET SALLY is one movie not to be missed. Suitable for older teens and up.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about friendships and how people can change over time, premarital sex, and the role sex plays in adult relationships, both marriage and otherwise.
Is Harry correct in his theory that men and women can't be friends?
How realistic is the outcome of their relationship?
- In theaters: June 12, 1989
- On DVD or streaming: January 9, 2001
- Cast: Billy Crystal, Carrie Fisher, Meg Ryan
- Director: Rob Reiner
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sexual themes and language
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
For kids who love romantic comedy
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch