The story of David Wilkerson's first five years in New York is told in The Cross and the Switchblade, a book he co-authored in 1963. The book became a best-selling phenomenon and more than 15 million copies have been distributed in over 30 languages.
In 1969, a motion picture of The Cross and the Switchblade was released, starring Pat Boone as David Wilkerson and Erik Estrada as Nicky Cruz, the teen gang member whose life was dramatically transformed by Christ. The movie retells the unforgettable story of God's tender mercy and love to New York City teenagers through Mr. Wilkerson's ministry. Movie theaters were sold out for the film's debut, drawing crowds from all backgrounds and lifestyles.
The movie was dismissed by secular critics as uninteresting. However, it has been viewed by an estimated 50 million people in over 30 languages in 150 countries, according to World Film Crusade. They also report that it is one of the most viewed films in the world and is credited with drawing millions to Christ.