The Cross and the Switchblade


1h 46m 1970

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
Jan 1970
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 3 Jun 1970
Production Company
Dick Ross & Associates, Inc.; Q. E. D. Productions
Distribution Company
Dick Ross & Associates, Inc.; Gateway Films
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the book The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson, John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill (New York, 1963).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 46m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)

Synopsis

The Reverend David Wilkerson, a Pennsylvania country preacher, comes to New York to aid a group of teenaged gang members on trial for the murder of a young boy; but when he enters a courtroom to beg permission to meet the defendants, he is seized and frisked by suspicious court officers. After failing to help the accused youngsters, Wilkerson, refusing to be discouraged, remains in New York in the hope of reaching other slum victims. In time, he meets both Nicky Cruz, the leader of a Puerto Rican gang called the Mau Maus, and Nicky's hated enemy Abdullah, the leader of a black gang known as the Bishops. Through his friendship with a homeless black girl, Little Bo, Wilkerson visits the Mau Maus' headquarters and learns of a forthcoming rumble with the Bishops to determine control of the neighborhood. Despite Wilkerson's sincerity, the teenagers look upon him with open distrust. Nicky demonstrates his hostility by spitting on Wilkerson; but the preacher responds by assuring the boy that God will never forsake him. When the rumble results in the death of one of the Mau Maus, Wilkerson becomes more determined than ever to win over the gang members. Then, because the Bishops disrupt the funeral services of the dead youth, another gang fight breaks out, and Nicky suffers a near-fatal beating. Wilkerson visits him and is again rejected, though he senses that he is making some headway toward Nicky's eventual conversion. But the reverend receives another setback when the gangs' leaders vote to fight to the death. Actual violence is curtailed, however, by Wilkerson's persuasive preaching and by his previous assistance in curing Nicky's ex-girl friend Rosa of heroin addiction. Encouraged by this initial success, Wilkerson vows to organize youth rehabilitation centers in all of New York's slum districts.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
Jan 1970
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 3 Jun 1970
Production Company
Dick Ross & Associates, Inc.; Q. E. D. Productions
Distribution Company
Dick Ross & Associates, Inc.; Gateway Films
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the book The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson, John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill (New York, 1963).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 46m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)

Quotes

I could kill you, preach!
- Nicky Cruz
Yes, you could, Nicky. You could cut me up in a thousand pieces! And every piece will say 'I love you!'
- David Wilkerson

Trivia

Notes

Filmed on location in New York City.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1970

Released in United States 1970