The Cross and the Switchblade
John and Elizabeth Sherrill
The Cross and the Switchblade is a book written in 1962 by pastor David Wilkerson with John and Elizabeth Sherrill. It tells the true story of Wilkerson's first five years in New York City, where he ministered to disillusioned youth, encouraging them to turn away from the drugs and gang violence they were involved with and to turn to Jesus. The book became a best seller, with more than 16 million copies distributed in over 30 languages.
In 1970, a film adaptation was released, starring Pat Boone as David Wilkerson and Erik Estrada (in his screen debut) as Nicky Cruz, the teen gang member whose life was transformed by Wilkerson's ministry. The film has been viewed by an estimated 50 million people in over 30 languages in 150 countries, according to World Film Crusade.
In 1968, Cruz wrote the book Run Baby Run with Jamie Buckingham, telling the story of his life including coming to New York and being in the gang, and subsequently meeting Wilkerson and thereafter becoming an Evangelical Christian.
- "The Cross and the Switchblade Film Facts". Worldchallenge.org.