The cult classic, directed by Amy Heckerling, was based on a book written by Cameron Crowe while he was undercover as a member of the class of 1979 at San Diego's Clairemont High School.
Robin Weaver, a Clairemont grad on whom Phoebe Cates' character in the film was based, told The San Diego Union-Tribune she recently watched and discussed the movie with her son.
"I looked at the movie and I realized we were young and stupid. There was no way around it," she said. "It was the essence of adolescence."
Mark Kenway, who during high school belonged to the surfer crowd portrayed most prominently in the film by Sean Penn's character, Spicoli, said the character may have been a bit too much of a caricature.
"We could relate, but it was a little exaggerated as far as the stoner parts," Kenway said.
He said many of his surfer friends actually did quite well in school.
Exaggerations or no, Kenway said he could understand why many of his classmates have barred their children from seeing the movie.
"We don't want our children to know everything we did in high school," he said.