This scene from When Harry Met Sally starts out as a rather interesting discussion on the ending of Casablanca from a (uniquely, one must say) male and female perspective and how twains don't meet. Casablanca (do we need to mention there's a spoiler here?) ends with the heroine having to choose between the two men in her life (even if she is somewhat pushed in one direction over the other—something that's barely mentioned). From his perspective, it's sadly romantic—"he's" doing what he's doing for the good of the world, and his sacrifice is noble and heroic. From her perspective, "she's" doing what she's doing because it's practical—it's better to be the first lady of Czechoslovakia than stay with a guy who runs a bar (said that way it makes perfect sense). From her perspective, it's the better future that can be obtained, and from his perspective it's about the great sex (which, if anywhere, occurred during a scene dissolve), which, to a man, might be considered practical.
And, bear in mind here, this is Sally and Harry's views (filtered through the pen and ink of Nora Ephron); in any man-woman perspective, "results may vary."
And...bear in mind, again...this is the first of two When Harry Met Sally scenes set in a diner: in this one, Harry has the upper hand; in the second, more famous "I'll-have-what-she's having" scene, Sally has the advantage. They'll also take a look at Casablanca later in the movie and there, no controversy: "perfect movie/perfect ending." The structure of the movie is "Before/After," comparing and contrasting two similar situations in two different times in their lives, showing how far the two people have evolved from their "scruffy" days and have turned into older, wiser people who then (and only then) might be right for each other.
The fundamental things still apply, as time goes by.
The Set-Up: Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) is getting a ride from Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) back to New York after college in Chicago has let out. They don't get along all that well.
(a while later, still in the car)
Sally: You're wrong.
Harry: I'm not wrong, he wants...
Sally: You're wrong.
Harry: ...he wants her to leave that's why he puts her on the plane.
Sally: I don't think she wants to stay.
Harry: Of course she wants to stay. Wouldn't you rather be with Humphrey Bogart than the other guy?
Sally: I don't want to spend the rest of my life in Casablanca married to a man who runs a bar. I probably sound very snobbish to you but I don't.
Harry: You'd rather be in a passionless marriage.
Sally: And be the first lady of Czechoslovakia.
Harry: Than live with the man you've had the greatest sex of your life with, and just because he owns a bar and that is all he does.
Sally: Yes. And so would any woman in her right mind, women are very practical, even Ingrid Bergman, which is why she gets on the plane at the end of the movie.
(They pull up to a road side cafe.)
Harry: I understand.
Sally: What? What?
Harry: Forget about it.
Sally: For.. What? Forget about what?
Harry: It's not important.
Sally: No just tell me.
Harry: Obviously you haven't had great sex yet.
(Turns to waitress) Two please.
Waitress:: Right over there.
Sally: Yes I have.
Harry: No you haven't.
Sally: It just so happens that I have had plenty of good sex.
(Silence, the whole restaurant looks at Sally. Sally realises what she had done, walks carefully with a tilted head towards the table.)
Harry: With whom?
Harry: With whom did you have this great sex?
Sally: I'm not going to tell you that!
Harry: Fine, don't tell me.
Sally: Shel Gordon.
Harry: Shel? Sheldon? No, no, you didn't have great sex with ... Sheldon.
Sally: I did too.
Harry: No you didn't.
A Sheldon can do your income taxes. If you need a root canal Sheldon's your man, but humping and pumping is not Sheldon's strong suit.
It's the name. Do it to me 'Sheldon',
...you're an animal 'Sheldon', ride me big 'Sheldon'.
what can I get ya?
Harry: I'll have a number three.
I'd like the chef salad please with the oil and vinegar on the side and the apple pie a la mode.
Chef and apple a la mode.
Sally: But I'd like the pie heated...
...and I don't want the ice cream on top I want it on the side and I'd like strawberry instead of vanilla if you have it
...if not then no ice cream just whipped cream
...but only if it's real if it's out of a can then nothing.
Not even the pie?
No, just the pie, but then not heated.
So how come you broke up with Sheldon?
How you know we broke up?
Because if you didn't break up you wouldn't be here with me, you'd be off with Sheldon the wonder-schlong.
First of all, I am not *with* you, and second of all it is none of your business why we broke up.
You're right, you're right, I don't want to know.
Well if you must know, it was because he was very jealous and I had these days-of-the-week underpants.
(imitates a wrong answer buzzer) Uah! I'm sorry I need a judge's ruling on this...days-of-week underpants.
Yes. They had the days of the week on them and I thought they were sort of funny. And then one day Sheldon says to me, 'You never wear Sunday'. It's all suspicious, where was Sunday, where was Sunday? And I told him and he didn't believe me.
They don't make Sunday.
Because of God.
(They've finished eating.)
(talking to herself) Ok, so fifteen percent of my share is ninety... six ninety. This leaves seven.
(To Harry) What?
Do I have something on my face?
You're a very attractive person.
Amanda never said how attractive you were.
Well maybe she doesn't think I'm attractive.
I don't think it's a matter of opinion, empirically you are attractive.
Amanda is my friend.
Sally: So you're going with her.
Sally: So you're coming on to me!
No I wasn't. What?
(Sally is not impressed, jaw drops, wide eyes)
Can't a man say a woman is attractive without it being a come-on? Alright, alright, let's just say just for the sake of argument that it was a come-on. What do you want me to do about it? I take it back, ok? I take it back.
You can't take it back.
Because it's already out there.
Oh gees, what are we suppose to do, call the cops? It's already out there.
Just let it lie, ok?
Great! Let it lie. That's my policy.
That's what I always say, let it lie.
Wanna spend the night at a motel? See what I did? I didn't let it lie.
Harry: I said I wouldn't and I didn't.
Harry: I went the other way.
Harry: Great! Friends! It's the best thing.
(On the road once more)
You realise of course that we can never be friends.
Sally: Why not?
What I'm saying is... and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form, is that men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
Sally: That's not true, I have a number of men friends and there's is no sex involved.
No you don't.
Sally: Yes I do.
Harry: No you don't.
Sally: Yes I do.
Harry: You only think you do.
You're saying I'm having sex with these men without my knowledge?
Harry: No, what I'm saying is they all want to have sex with you.
Sally: They do not.
Harry: Do too.
Sally: They do not.
Harry: Do too.
Sally: How do you know?
Because no man can be friends with a woman he finds attractive, he always wants to have sex with her.
So you're saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive.
Nuh, you pretty much wanna nail 'em too.
What if they don't want to have sex with you?
Doesn't matter, because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.
Well I guess we're not going to be friends then.
Harry: Guess not.
Sally: That's too bad. You are the only person I knew in New York.
When Harry Met Sally
Words by Nora Ephron
Pictures by Barry Sonenfeld and Rob Reiner
When Harry Met Sally is available on DVD from MGM Home Entertainment.