While documentary films rely on fact to present their story, not all films must be a documentary to be based on a fact or true story. Documentary films are based on a fact, but explore the ideas and values of the fact in a mostly expository manner. Feature films can also be based on a fact but tend to use the fact for entertainment value as opposed to an informative manner.
In the text Patch Adams by Tom Shadyac, the film is based on the true story of the doctor Patch Adams. Instead of following the real life story of Patch Adams and using conventional documentary codes, the film explores events in his life that are of interest and have the most entertainment value. By showing the text is a feature film through film codes and exclusion of documentary film techniques, Patch Adams is a feature film that bases its story on a fact.
The text Patch Adams follows the story of the medical students life and the highs and lows he faces. Using different film codes, the text identifies itself as a feature film while basing its story on actual facts and events.
The story of Patch Adams begins in a university campus. The University and its surroundings are first identified with establishing wide-angle shots of a brick building with leaves falling from orange autumn trees in the clear morning. The character Patch is then identified with eye-level close mid-level shots of him taking books from his locker and looking peaceful and ready to begin his day. During this time a very casual and uplifting tune can be heard in the background of the shots. While following the casual beginnings in his day, the film explores the everyday life of this character that exists in our world,