- "By the powers invested in me by this parish, I hereby do commandeer this vehicle and all those persons within. And that means you, smart ass."
- ― J.W. Pepper
Sheriff John W. Pepper is a parish sheriff in Louisiana. He appears in the films Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun. The character, played by Clifton James and mostly used as comic relief, is most memorable for his somewhat bigoted attitudes, his continuous spitting and his tendency to speak loudly about whatever is on his mind.
Live and Let Die (1973)
J.W. Pepper is first introduced during the boat chase sequence of Live and Let Die. Pursuing Bond at nearly 90 miles an hour, Mr. Big's henchman Adam unwittingly draws the attention of the Sheriff who gives chase and arrests him at gunpoint. Seconds later, Bond's Glastron Speedboat jumps the embankment beside the pair, followed by his pursuer who crashes into Pepper's squad car. In the ensuing chaos Adam escapes and continues the chase.
Subsequently, two of Pepper's colleagues arrive and share a joke at the Sheriff's expense. He then commandeers their police vehicle and proceeds to Miller's bridge, where the police have set up a "road-block" down stream of Bond. The blockade completely fails and Pepper arrives to find the officers being fished out of the river.
Lacking the resources to keep up with Bond, J.W. attempts to enlist the help of his brother-in-law, Billy-Bob - who apparently owns the fastest boat on the river. A boat which quickly falls into the hands of Adam, who speeds off to join the chase by water. Waiting for Billy-Bob further along the river, J.W. notices his boat rounding a bend in the river. Too busy bragging about his brother-in-law, Pepper is the only one of the group who fails to notice that driver (who they assume is Pepper's brother-in-law) is Adam.
En route to intercept Bond, Pepper and several of his squad cars are involved in a series of crashes, caused by 007 once again leaping the bank ahead of them. After the ensuing pile-up, J.W. scrambles out of the wreckage and rides the rest of the way in one of the few surviving - but completely battered up - vehicles. Confronting Bond and Felix at the marina, the irate Sheriff accuses Bond of being a "doomsday machine" and attempts to bring him into custody. At Leiter's request, the police captain present reveals Bond's identity and authority, much to J.W.'s frustration.
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
Later in The Man with the Golden Gun, the Sheriff is presumably on holiday in Thailand where he recognizes Bond. Bond is on the street looking for a chase vehicle, sees an AMC dealership, and when he enters the showroom, the Sheriff (on vacation, presumably), is inside one of the demos. Bond jumps in the driver's seat and drives it out through the plate glass window. The Sheriff is along for the ride in a car chase with Bond chasing Scaramanga. When they reach a warehouse Scaramanga went into, they try to get in, only for the Thai police to show up and Pepper tries to tell them he is a police officer, but they handcuff him to one of their own. Bond managed to escape when he and some officers hear Scaramanga escaping in a car, sprouting wings. It is unknown what happened to Pepper afterwards.
- Clifton James played a similar, loud mouthed sheriff, reminiscent of J.W. Pepper in the 1980 film Superman II. All three films were partly written by Tom Mankiewicz.
- There is a sheet music company named J.W. Pepper.