Wars aren’t just fought in the trenches. There’s death and bloodshed and pain, but everywhere else, there are people trying to survive in other ways; men and women, whether directly associated with the conflict or not, living quieter lives behind the scenes. This particular angle has been visited by filmmakers for years, with directors ranging from Stanley Kubrick to Quentin Tarantino approaching war from a relatively non-combative perspective. In their films, the battlefield isn’t a battlefield in the traditional sense.

These wartime outliers contrast a long line of Hollywood epics, but are also made up of some of the most memorable war movies ever made. The fighting is secondary, or even nonexistent, and yet ...

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