"Gringo" (Story Of A Junkie) is a 1987 drama film directed by Lech Kowalski and starring John Spacely. Distributed by Troma Entertainment. Filmed in documentary-style, the film follows the character of Gringo, a young man looking for fortune in New York, only to fall into heroin addiction.

The movie has amassed quite a reputation in certain circles for its depictions of hard drug usage in New York City's East Village area. Many of the cast members, including leading man John Spacely, are actual junkies. The numerous shooting-up sequences are reportedly entirely real, as are many of the drug dens and their denizens. Perhaps even more notable than the cinema verite structure is the almost total lack of moralizing on the part of the producers or its characters.

Lead actor Spacely died in the early 1990s, reportedly from AIDS, which he contracted through intravenous drug use. His final moments are chronicled in yet another Lech Kowalski film, "Born To Lose: The Last Rock & Roll Movie", a documentary about deceased former New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders.

Troma Entertainment hails "Story Of A Junkie" (Gringo) as one of the company's best films; it's one of the most well-known outside of the films directed by Troma founders Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz.
The filmmakers wish to thank the following people for appearing in "Gringo":

John Spacely

Steven Shingles

Claude du Sorbier


Osualdo Vasquez


Cliff Weiss

Renee Tenenbaum

Jesse The Mess

Dave "Frogman" Fargie

Robin McGill

Scott Colombo

Joe McGill

John McGill


Pee Wee







Steven Wishnia




Guillermo Perez (Cano)



Ana M. Monges

Patrick Jennings (Papo)

Albie Guzman

Lohan Randall

Michael Dane


Produced By:
Producer: Ann S. Barish
Producer: Lech Kowalski
Executive Producer: Gareth E. Newell
Associate Producer: Karen O'Toole

Assistant Director: Georgia Kacandes

Assistant To The Director: Hilary White

Story Consultant: John Spacely

Neighborhood Contacts:
Raymond Vence
Pee Wee

Research Consultant: Paul Bloom

Production Crew

Gaffer: Bill McCartney

2nd Electric: George Smol

Roy Joselow
Christopher Barish

Driver: Hilton Webb

Soundman: Benoit Deswarte

Additional Sound: John McCormick

Production Assistants:
Jesse Nathans
Darryl Ferrucci

Special Effects: Lester Larrain

Still Photographers:
Erik Bulder
Bill McCartney
Marcia Resnick

Assistant Editors:
Chip Cronkite
Tom Crawford
Benoit Deswarte

Apprentice Editors:
Patricia Francisco
Susanne Joslin
Daphne Rubin

Dialog Editor: Lach Duncan

Mix: Trans Audio, Inc.

Mixer: Tom Fleischman

Lab: Precision Lab, Inc.

Editing Facilities: Rafik

Negative Matcher: Match Cut

Titles & Graphics: Skylight Productions

Camera & Lighting Equipment: F&B Ceco
Rick Wadell

Sound Equipment: Audio Services

Original Music Composed By Chuck Kentis
Performed By Children Of Paradise
Recorded At Grand Slam Studios
Recording Engineer: Alan Douches

"The Message"
Performed By Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five
Courtesy Of Sugar Hill Records

"Since I Don't Have You"
Performed By Don McLean
Courtesy Of Millenium Records

"Gringo" Mural By Art Guerra

Leather Accessories By Leather Hardware

Special Thanks To:

Edward R. Schwartz
Keith Barish
Della Brain
Marilyn Wechsler
Edgar Kuklowsky
Kerrin B. Newell
Matt Dillon
Christine E. Mayer
Rebecca Wright
Don Snyder
Jerry Lurie
Rick Glickstein
Wayne Brody
Nancy Schreiber
Paul Gibson
David Shapiro
Ross Turin
Gary Milkis
Bob Zuckerman
Heather White
Reflections Studio
Life Cafe
The Pit
Mudd Club
Carlton Arms Hotel
Holiday Bar
Jack The Ribber

(c)1984 Gringo Enterprises
"This Time You Lose"
Performed By Bernie Worrell
Recorded At Atlantic Studios
Courtesy Of Invasion Records

Buy DVD at Amazon.com
Buy DVD at TROMA.com