Former classmates of Richard Linklater are suing Universal Studios, saying they suffered ridicule over characters based on them in Dazed and Confused.
Linklater recently made a sequel to his 1995 film Before Sunrise
Richard Floyd, Bobby Wooderson and Andy Slater, say director Linklater did not get their permission to create the characters, who share their surnames.
The 1993 film follows the alcohol and drug-fuelled high jinks of teenagers on the last day of school in 1976.
Linklater's agent was not immediately available for comment.
The men, who say the characters also share their likenesses, claim the negative characterisations in the film have caused their neighbours to think badly of them.
"We had fun in high school, but there is nothing true about that movie. Yet I am having to deal with it all the time," said Mr Floyd, who works at a car showroom in Huntsville, Texas, where the men went to school.
One of the trio's lawyers, Ernest Freeman, said Mr Slater has also had problems because people assume he takes illegal drugs.
Linklater's most recent film, Before Sunset, was the sequel to his 1995 film Before Sunrise.
The romantic movie saw French actress Julie Delpy reunited with Hollywood star Ethan Hawke.
Linklater's other films include 2003 hit The School of Rock and 1991's Slacker.