Though most of the characters depicted existed, there was another young lady, Mich, who, at the time, was Lana's good friend. She also knew Brandon. However, in the events following the tragedy, Mich moved out of Nebraska to avoid the attention.
In actual life, Lana states that Brandon never proposed to her. In fact, when she found out that Brandon was actually Teena, she ended the relationship then and there.
In the film, Brandon escapes from John and Tom after being run roughshod by them. In actual life, John and Tom let her go after the beating, but with a stern warning not to go to the police. Brandon nevertheless went and reported the crime.
A double murder was shown, when actually three people actually were murdered. An African-American man, Philip Devine, 19, Lana's sister Leslie's boyfriend, was shot to death on a couch that night also.
The lone survivor of the murder was a baby boy, not a girl as portrayed.