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The Cross and the Switchblade (1970)

GP  |   |  Biography, Crime, Drama  |  June 1970 (USA)
6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 721 users  
Reviews: 28 user | 11 critic

Crusading minister gets involved in the lives of members of a New York street gang.

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Title: The Cross and the Switchblade (1970)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Jacqueline Giroux ...
Rosa (as Jackie Giroux)
...
Little Bo
Dino DeFilippi ...
Israel
Don Blakely ...
Abdullah
Gil Frazier ...
Big Cat
Don Lamond ...
Sergeant Delano
Sam Capuano ...
Hector Gomez
Alex Colon ...
Mingo
Héctor Mercado ...
Moonlight (as Hector Mercado)
Stew Silver ...
Augie
Dorothy James ...
Graciela Gomez
David Connell ...
Pusher
Michelle Galjour ...
Angela
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Storyline

David Wilkerson is a relatively young parish priest in Philipsburg, Pennsylvania. With nominal funds, insufficient even to get a hotel room which forces him to sleep in his car, his church sends him to the slums of New York to bring the word of God to the young men and youth of the Egyptian Kings, who are on trial for their violent gang activities. David hopes God will be their salvation. Although David is not allowed to get near the Egyptian Kings, his trip to the courthouse does garner much publicity. Because of that publicity, David meets a tough street youth named Little Bo, who offers to introduce David to the main gangs still out on the streets, namely the mixed white Mau Maus, and the predominantly black Bishops, who are fighting each other for territory. Who the gangs hate more than each other however are the authorities. David turns his attentions to the two gangs, and wants them to know that God loves them no matter who they are or what they do, and in doing so will guide ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Now an explosive motion picture!

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

June 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La cruz y el puñal  »

Filming Locations:


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(Eastmancolor)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to "Run Baby Run", the autobiography of Nicky Cruz, the Mau Mau gang actually wore black leather jackets with crimson double M's on the back instead of red jackets with white double M's, as depicted in the film. See more »

Goofs

The story takes place in the early-'50s, yet in one scene Big Cat references Medicaid, which wasn't established until 1965. See more »

Quotes

David Wilkerson: [Last Lines] You can take it from this skinny preacher from the hills of Pennsylvania; The cross is mightier than the switchblade.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Clay Pigeon (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

 
I Can Appreciate David Wilkerson's Ministry But I Didn't Feel The Power In This That So Many Speak Of
2 July 2011 | by (Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

I found this movie to be a strange one. Naive - even simplistic in its presentation of how David Wilkerson (played by Pat Boone) began his street ministry to troubled teens and gang members in New York City in the late 1950's. Not that there's anything particularly wrong with naive and simplistic. I'm a pastor myself and I'm willing to say that the Gospel message of divine love for the world is in itself somewhat naive and simplistic - but I believe it to be true. And yet things seemed too easy for Wilkerson in this movie. Yes, I know there was a lot of violence portrayed and a lot of drug abuse portrayed and a lot of gang fighting portrayed, but eventually it seemed as if it all came together thanks to one sermon Wilkerson preached to a youth rally? Perhaps that was just dramatic licence. You probably can't fit the whole story into a less than two hour movie so I guess it has to be abridged. Or maybe it really happened that way. Maybe the 50's were just a different era indeed. I could appreciate the turnaround in Nicky Cruz (played by Erik Estrada) who has, himself, become a fairly noteworthy evangelist. I don't want to deny the possibility of a truly dramatic conversion experience. And a lot happened through one sermon - and I don't want to deny the power of the preached Word of God, nor do I want to deny that the movie does make clear that Wilkerson did make real sacrifices for the sake of the street kids he ministered to and he took real chances, so it wasn't just one sermon - it was Wilkerson's decision to invest himself in the kids and not just to preach to them. I can appreciate that. That's ministry.

And yet, in spite of the testimony of many people about how powerful this movie is, I just didn't feel that power as I watched it. Maybe I'm just more cynical than I realize or care to admit, but I think the reaction of most kids today (just your average everyday kid and not a gang member) would be to sneer at what was shown on screen - or at least to roll their eyes. I can appreciate and be humbled by Wilkerson's Pauline-style call to Antiochean ministry (Paul and Silas went to Antioch and stayed among the people) or to a Mother Teresa ministry (who went to the slums of Calcutta and stayed in the slums of Calcutta) but I certainly wouldn't show this movie to a youth group in church. I don't think they'd get it.

There are parts of this that are quite moving - particularly the withdrawal of a young teenage girl from heroin addiction that was painful to watch. Overall, though, I just didn't feel the power that so many claim for this movie. (4/10)


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