AFI Movie Club: SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE – American Film Institute
Sleepless In Seattle Film Still - Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan



SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE was included on AFI’s lists of both cinema’s great love stories and its great romantic comedies – and it also stars AFI Life Achievement Award honoree Tom Hanks! 

Watch Lena Dunham announce the film:




DID YOU KNOW Nora Ephron was initially interested in SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE as a quick rewrite job? She would go on to direct the film – her feature directorial debut – and it would become one of her most beloved signature works! 

DID YOU KNOW that, according to producer Gary Foster, Nora Ephron was so confident in her approach to the material that she told him she could rewrite the original script within two weeks? She also promised that it would be so good that the studio should get Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, because that’s what the movie deserved! 

DID YOU KNOW SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE almost starred Julia Roberts? The PRETTY WOMAN star has since said that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were a “jewel of a fit in that” and compared their chemistry to her own with Richard Gere. 

DID YOU KNOW during filming there was a drought in Seattle? Filmmakers had to bring in water trucks to create the rain! 

DID YOU KNOW during one scene of the film, Meg Ryan walks in the same door in Baltimore as Tom Hanks walks out of in Seattle? Director Nora Ephron had the door shipped from Baltimore to Seattle to show the connection between the two characters. 

DID YOU KNOW Tom Hanks and Victor Garber improvised the scene of them crying over the movie THE DIRTY DOZEN? 

DID YOU KNOW one of Nora Ephron’s stated goals was to give every single character a “moment”? One of her favorite examples in SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE is when the mailman has a silly conversation with Jonah about cures for hiccups. 

DID YOU KNOW that the production was initially denied permission to shoot the iconic final scene at the Empire State Building? Director Nora Ephron made a plea through a friend to building owner Leona Helmsley, who was incarcerated but still approved shooting at the historic location – but for only six hours! 

Learn more at the AFI Catalog.


The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram now using #AFIMovieClub. Or post your responses in the comment section below.

-After over 25 years, why does SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE still resonate with audiences? 

-Have you ever been smitten by someone that you’d never met? 

-What is the significance of Annie peeling the apple in one long, curly strip? 

-What is the difference of being in love and being in love in a movie? 

-What is the craziest thing you have done for love? 

-Why is it important to the story that Walter is a good guy? 

-Why is it significant that Annie asks Jonah the name of his bear at the end of the movie? 

-How do you think the story would unfold in the social media age? 

-How you would rate SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE? 


In this exclusive AFI Archive video, writer/director Nora Ephron talks about working on SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE:


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AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies. Each day’s film is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to enrich your viewing experience.

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Comments (1)


There is no doubt that is one of the greatest movies ever made. So rewatchable. I just love it!

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