Scene Stealing Scenery: 5 Movies To Help You Celebrate Earth Day

From the islands of Rhode Island to the peaks of Machu Picchu, take a journey with these Focus films

What’s the next best thing to visiting a stunning, far-flung destination? Settling down in a front of a wide screen and letting a movie take you away. Here at Focus, some of our favorite films take us on the most breathtaking journeys. While we love character-driven stories that inspire and move us, occasionally just the beauty of a film's setting will bring tears to our eyes. On this Earth Day, April 22nd, we’re spending time revisiting a few of our titles whose scenery always makes our hearts soar.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, and the Canadian Rockies star in Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback Mountain -- The Canadian Rockies

Ang Lee's Oscar winning masterpiece Brokeback Mountain is set in Wyoming (like the Annie Proulx short story it is based on). But for the film’s locations, Lee found the mountains and vistas of the Canadian Rockies to be the perfect backdrop for the unconventional western love story.

"[I thought] it should play a character in the movie, because it is called Brokeback Mountain," said Lee to AboutFilm. The spectacular scenery helps tell the story. "It is a very existential idea to me."

The actual mountain referred to in the film’s title is a composite, blending Mount Lougheed and Moose Mountain in Alberta, Canada. To learn more about the peaks, visit the Saskatchewan Parks’ website.

Get Brokeback Mountain on iTunes or at Amazon.

Gael García Bernal and Rodrigo De la Serna take in the ancient site in Motorcycle Diaries.

Motorcycle Diaries -- Machu Picchu, Peru

Walter Salles’ 2004  film Motorcycle Diaries is based on Ernesto "Che" Guevara's memoir of an epic road trip he took with his friend Alberto Granado when he was 23 years old. The journey takes them -- and audiences -- across South America, from Buenos Aires to a leper colony in San Pablo, Peru. Guevara was awestruck upon seeing the ancient Inca site of Machu Picchu for the first time.

Learn more about the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu at

Get Motorcycle Diaries on iTunes or Amazon.

Frank (Peter Mullan) and his friends take the plunge in On a Clear Day.

On a Clear Day -- The White Cliffs of Dover, England

In 2005, screenwriter Alex Rose and director Gaby Dellal created On a Clear Day, a film that celebrates the healing powers of nature. After losing his longtime shipyard job, Frank Redmond (Peter Mullan) finds himself battling depression and suppressed grief over the loss of his son many years ago. Frank finds a new course in life, literally, by dedicating himself to swimming across the English Channel.

The White Cliffs of Dover were the obvious setting for Frank’s epic quest. Stretching eight miles along the British coast, their striking appearance is created by natural chalk containing streaks of black flint. Learn more about this dramatic coastline at

Get On a Clear Day on

Watch as Hanna and her father train in the early morning hours.

Hanna -- Kuusamo, Finland

The locations were so important to Joe Wright’s film Hanna, that parts of the script were rewritten to include the striking places they found.

We first meet the 16-year-old Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) in the frozen wilderness of Kuusamo in northern Finland. Captivated by the snowy landscapes, the filmmakers adjusted the script to linger more on Hanna's forest upbringing. Temperatures during the shooting? A bone-chilling -37 Celsius.

Learn more about the Kuusamo region at

Get Hanna now on Amazon.

Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman dance on the beach in Moonrise Kingdom.

Moonrise Kingdom -- Prudence Island, Rhode Island

Wes Anderson's delightfully charming Moonrise Kingdom is set on the fictional island of New Penzance. But it was filmed, in part, on Prudence Island, Rhode Island a sparsely populated isle in Narragansett Bay. Anderson fans have been making pilgrimages to the quaint area since the film’s release in 2012.

Anderson was inspired by his own childhood visits to small islands off of Cape Cod. "There are no cars, you’ve got to take a ferry there, and there’d only be about 20 houses," he told the Boston Globe.

Read more about visiting Prudence Island in The New York Times.

Watch Moonrise Kingdom on iTunes or purchase it on Amazon.

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