Philippe was originally named Orson in the 1989 screenplay. In addition, he almost ended up taken away due to Belle's family being unable to pay their taxes, with Clarice objecting to his potentially being taken away. Presumably, Orson accompanied Maurice (at that time a bankrupt merchant instead of an inventor) to sell Belle's mother's music box for cash and got lost in the storm. While Orson and Maurice rode through town, they were briefly greeted by a prostitute with the implied offer that the latter be her customer, causing Orson to briefly grin as Maurice bashfully tips his hat riding by. Orson would later aid Belle in getting to the castle in the climax, although in the screenplay, he was given the name Wilbert.
Philippe is first seen in the movie taking Maurice to the fair so that Maurice can enter his invention in the fair and make lots of money. On the way, Philippe and Maurice become lost in the woods and come across the crossroads. Phillipe would rather take the bright, cheerful with birds singing path on the left, but Maurice insists on going the foggy, eerily-lit path on the right thinking it's a shortcut, and forces the reluctant Phillipe to take that route. But then as Maurice starts to turn Philippe around, Philippe hears the sound of wolves in the distance and becomes frightened causing them to crash into a tree and wake up a swarm of angry bats which frightens Philippe and he runs away scared to the edge of a cliff. Maurice tries to get Philippe to calm down but Philippe frighteningly throws Maurice off of him and runs away scared with some wolves on his trail. When Philippe escapes the wolves he arrives home and finds Belle and she asks him where her father is and tells him to take her to him. Philippe takes Belle to the gates of the Beast's castle and he becomes frightened by the sight of it but Belle manages to calm him down while she goes into the castle to find her father.
Later when Belle is scared by The Beast she takes off with him into the forest in order to escape the castle (presumably he was waiting outside the castle main door while Belle was dealing with the Beast). Philippe and Belle are attacked by a pack of wolves who chase them through the black forest. During the chase when they believe they have gotten away from the wolves they ambush Belle and Philippe and his reins get tangled on a couple of tree branches. The wolves try to attack him but he is able to kick one away and Belle defends him. The Beast soon arrives and fights off the wolf pack saving both Philippe and Belle. Philippe shows concern for the Beast when he's wounded despite his monster form. Belle then takes the Beast back the castle with the Beast on Philippe's back.
Philippe is later seen when the Beast sets Belle free from the castle. The two of them find her father and return home. Philippe is last seen after the villagers decide to kill the Beast. After Belle and her father escape their basement with the help of Chip, they ride Philippe back to the castle to save the Beast and Philippe bursts through the front door to get into the castle. It is presumed that after the curse was broken, Philippe stayed with Belle and Maurice in the castle.
Philippe is seen when Belle and Chip go into the black forest to find a perfect Christmas tree. He pulls the sleigh that Belle and Chip sit in. After Belle and Chip find the tree, Fife accidentally scares Philippe causing him to stomp and smash the ice of the frozen lake Belle and Chip are on. After Beast saves Belle from drowning, he follows them back to the castle.