The Cross and the Switchblade (1970) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Cross and the Switchblade (1970)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Cross and the Switchblade Photos

Movie Info

Based on a true story, David Wilkerson (Pat Boone) is the small-town preacher who gets caught in the shadows of a crime-ridden neighborhood in New York City. He encounters a gang led by Nicky Cruz (Erik Estrada), and David brings a message of hope to the angry youths. Guided by the street-wise Little Bo (Jo-Ann Robinson), David quickly learns about the neighborhood and how to approach the cynical juveniles. This moralistic family film attempts to give hope to those who walk in the shadows of darkness. Despite the preachy nature of the plot, it is a well-done film and Pat Boone's character relates well to the targeted white, middle-class audience. Nicky Cruz would go on to become an ordained minister, preaching the gospel due to the initial efforts of David Wilkerson.
Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Gateway Films

Watch it now


Pat Boone
as David Wilkerson
Erik Estrada
as Nicky Cruz
Jo Ann Robinson
as Little Bo
Don Blakely
as Abdullah
Gil Frazier
as Big Cat
Don Lamond
as Sgt. Delano
Sam Capuano
as Mr. Gomez
Alex Colon
as Mingo
Hector Mercado
as Moonlight
Stew Silver
as Augie
Dorothy James
as Mrs. Gomez
Dave Connell
as Pusher
Darryl Speer
as Bottlecap
Thomas Mooney
as Chance
Jay Devlin
as District Attorney
Paul Haney
as Lawyer
Darrel Adleman
as Pawnbroker
Stanley Finesmith
as Trial Defendant
Sal Christi
as Court Policeman
Andrew T. Murphy
as Reporter
Kleg Seth
as Photographer
Laura Figueroa
as Mau Mau Deb
Jonelle Allen
as Bishop Deb
Mark Dawson
as Policeman
Dolores Raskin
as Ederly Woman
Norman Bly
as Heckler
Tim Pelt
as Bishop
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Cross and the Switchblade

All Critics (1)

Tepid and boring. One of two movies during which I have ever walked out.

October 25, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

Audience Reviews for The Cross and the Switchblade


The Cross and the Switch Blade The scenes are so cheesy. The action scenes were not filmed very well. Two gangs in a major city in 1970 Spanish vs the African American gang. A preacher in the middle trying to protect the people trying to peach because everyone needs him. Spanish gang is afraid of the preacher ask for someone to get rid of him. This film shows the dumbest and trashiest parts of the city. This film shows drugs too. I'm surprised they are actually able to show how drugs are made in this film and still be PG. David Walkerson is played by Pat Boone. The music was alright 60% of the time but I found 40% of the time the music did not fit the scene for me. And rather than feel for the scene like when the girl was getting clean off drugs or it made me feel like I lost reality and feeling and was completely not right for the scene and made me laugh instead of taking the film seriously with the correct emotion and lost all seriousness for taking the story . Some of the ways which reflections in the mirror were used when we saw the drug dealer giving hearowine I liked I was surprised by some of the graphic blood when one of the gang members fell down the stairs or the way they showed drugs being stored or made. I was surprised such images were allowed for a PG film. I was surprised how little actual Biblical text were used in this film. It really was not used too much until the very end of the film. And the film made a big impheses on love and I was surprised there were not more messages besides just love in this film such as piece, war, killing. It was touched at the end but I'm surprised it was not made strong throughout the film rather than just the end. The preacher coming to the main gang lords in the middle of the night was wired saying God loves you. Some of the fight sequences in the film I found cheesy because of how it was shot where you were so close and cutting so quick that the action never was really focused and you could never see too much damage. It has some good messages but the story could have been told much better in other parts. Like the scenes that should have been the strongest emotional effect were reduced in effectiveness due to things such as the wrong type of music in a scene or music at all or cutting or what was emphasised when such a strong emphasis was not necessary and could have been understood without the emphasis.


[color=darkred]The Cross and the Switchblade is a great movie, even though it doesn't entirely follow the book.[/color] [color=darkred]It's an awesome movie for those who are having trouble finding God. It will definately change your life once you see a simple minister from the middle of no where, coming to the city and changing the lives of some of the toughest gang members on the streets of New York. If you've seen the movie, but haven't read the book, I suggest that you go out and find a copy of the book. It's more in depth than the movie, and it gives some of the details that the movie leaves out. Also, if you were interested in Nicky Cruz's story and want to know more about what happened to him after the end of the movie and before the begining of it, I suggest you read his book "Run Baby Run"[/color]

Amanda Ott
Amanda Ott

Hadn't seen this for probably 30 years and while the acting is sometimes lacking and the screenplay could have been better, the message is loud and clear...and good. It's also notable as Erik Estrada's first role, one that left me wanting at times, but not throughout.

Gaspar Oot
Gaspar Oot

The Cross and the Switchblade Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Cross and the Switchblade on our Movie forum!

News & Features