The Best Team-Up Movie Billy Crystal Ever Did Is Now On Netflix

Billy Crystal has been in plenty of team-up movies through his illustrious career, but now his most famous team-up is currently streaming on Netflix.

By Vic Medina | Published

Billy Crystal

Everyone loves Billy Crystal – it’s like a natural law that we all must adhere to. For most people, Billy is defined by a singular work. For some, it’s his stand-up routine, and people still love quoting his “you look mahvelous” jokes from Saturday Night Live. Others love his baseball stories or sitcom work, but most folks love Billy for a particular movie. City Slickers, Analyze This, and The Princess Bride certainly ranks among the most beloved Billy movies, but perhaps his best just became available to stream on Netflix: When Harry Met Sally.

First released in 1989, the Rob Reiner film has managed to remain a rom-com favorite ever since, which is really saying something, given how the movie is structured. The film is a series of discussions and dialogues, with no physical comedy or visual gags to generate laughs. It takes place over the course of 12 years, starting with the first meeting between Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) in college. They initially can’t stand each other, but over the years, their paths continue to cross until they realize that sparks are flying between them. What follows is about 90 minutes of people discussing the nature of love and marriage, and the pitfalls of modern relationships.

One of the reasons why the film works so well is because of the talent involved. Billy Crystal was just hitting his stride as an actor who could carry a movie. He made his mark initially on television, first on the sitcom Soap and then as a cast member of Saturday Night Live. His first movie hit was the action-comedy Running Scared with Gregory Hines in 1986. His role in 1987’s The Princess Bride (also directed by Rob Reiner) as Miracle Max was essentially a cameo, but later that year he scored as the lead in the box office smash Throw Momma from the Train with Danny DeVito. The hits came easily after that, as Crystal proved he was a legitimate box office draw.

Meg Ryan was already a movie star, thanks to films like Top Gun and The Presidio. When Harry Met Sally, however, established her as a comedic actress without equal, and she quickly became the queen of 1990s romantic comedies, with Joe Versus the Volcano, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail all becoming box office hits with her co-star Tom Hanks, making the duo Hollywood icons in the process. Her pairing with Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally, however, produced perhaps her best comedic performance, which is why the film is so beloved to this day.

The cast and crew for the film are fantastic. The late Bruno Kirby is a perfect sidekick to Billy Crystal, and Meg Ryan is supported by the late great Carrie Fisher, who steals every minute she has on-screen. Nora Ephron, who also wrote Sleepless in Seattle and Silkwood, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, although she lost to Tom Schulman for Dead Poets Society. Barry Sonnenfeld, who would go on to direct films like the Men in Black series, was the Director of Photography, and legendary costume designer Gloria Gresham, defined the look of the era with its classic casual look.

The universal love for the film cannot be overstated. Even though readers on IMDB only score it at 7.7, it still has a loyal following, with fans who enjoy quoting its numerous insights on love. Rotten Tomatoes scored it at 91%, even higher than the audience score of 89%. Once the movie hit Netflix, people started tweeting about it, proclaiming their love for it.

Netflix even staged a table reading of the film at the Netflix is a Joke: The Festival in Los Angeles last week. Seth Rogen hosted the reading of the script, which featured Nick Kroll as Billy Crystal’s Harry and Zazie Beetz as Sally. Casey Wilson, Stephen Merchant, June Squibb, and Rory Scovel also participated. Proceeds from the event supported Hilarity for Charity, which is working to find a cure for Alzheimer’s (you can donate by clicking right here). Here’s the video from Netflix from the table reading, featuring the infamous diner scene.

Most people may not realize that the “orgasm” scene was actually shot at a real New York Deli, Katz’s Deli on E. Houston Street, which put up a plaque commemorating the scene. The “I’ll have what she’s having” line was delivered by Rob Reiner’s mother, which is really weird when you think about it. Billy Crystal came up with the line, not Nora Ephron, who most people attribute it to. In addition, it was Meg Ryan’s idea to actually fake an orgasm in the scene, which was only going to be a discussion.