- "Son, I could shoot a fly off your head at 80 feet."
- ―Phil Cassidy.
In all of his appearances, Phil is featured as a manic heavy artillery arms dealer, selling the protagonist military-grade weaponry such as Grenades, Rocket Launchers, Miniguns, etc. He presents himself as ex-military, regularly talking about his exploits in Vietnam. Cam Jones claims that he was never actually in the army, and army records indicate that Phil was repeatedly turned down for service due to his alcoholism and unstable personality. However, both Victor Vance and Ray Machowski refer to Phil as an old military buddy.
Phil has been featured as a heavy drinker. He distills "boomshine", a highly explosive mixture that can get a man drunk off its fumes, which he started distilling and selling in Vice City around 1984. During a phone conversation with Tommy Vercetti, he explains that due to his heavy boomshine consumption he is blind in his left eye.
One of Phil's most notable features is his one arm. He lost his left arm in 1986 after he was caught in the blast radius of a boomshine bomb, during the events of GTA VC. In GTA Liberty City Stories and GTA III, both set after VC, Phil has only one arm.
Phil's backstory was retconned between GTA III and GTA VC. In GTA III, Phil was said to have legitimately served in Nicaragua, where he lost his arm; this was later changed to make Phil a gun enthusiast who allegedly never served in the army and lost his arm in a boomshine explosion.
In Phil's first chronological appearance in Vice City Stories, he is introduced to Victor Vance through Sergeant Jerry Martinez. Phil is Jerry's gun dealer. Jerry sends Vic to help Phil get rid of some Cholos that are giving him trouble. Through Phil, Vic meets Phil's sister Louise Williams and Phil's brother-in-law Marty Jay Williams.
After completing some jobs for Marty and eventually killing him because he tried to pimp Louise, Vic returns with Phil and saves him from Jerry's goons who want to finish him for betraying Jerry. After being saved by Vic, Phil promises to stay sober from now on; however, he begins to drink again when Armando Mendez kills Louise. Phil, wanting revenge with the Mendez Brothers, gets drunk and blows up the entrance of Fort Baxter Air Base so Vic can steal a Hunter helicopter to attack the Mendez compound.
In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, Phil is sporting a handlebar mustache. Between 1984 and 1986, he has shaved it off permanently.
In his next appearance, Tommy Vercetti hires Phil to pull off a bank robbery in the mission The Shootist. Phil is the one who suggests Tommy should employ Hillary King as a getaway driver. After the robbery, Phil invites Tommy to work for him in order to get fixed with firepower. After Tommy kills Phil's rival gun dealer, a drunken Phil invites Tommy over to check out a Boomshine bomb he had set up, wired to a remote detonator. The remote doesn't work the first time, so Phil changes its batteries for fresh ones sitting beside the bomb. Now standing one meter away from the powerful explosive, in inebriated carelessness, he accidentally presses the remote's trigger, detonating the bomb and blowing his right arm off. Tommy drives Phil to an ex-army surgeon to be patched up.
In Vice City, Phil's mobile home can be entered. Gun Racks displaying several handguns, submachine guns and rifles are on the wall. When his bedroom is entered, his bed consists of a camouflaged mattress, an American Flag styled pillow and a few girlie posters on the walls. A Kaufman Cabs calendar can be seen in his mobile home also. He also has a Patriot parked in a hangar next to his home.
In the mission Arms Shortage, corrupt LCPD cop Ray Machowski commissions Claude to go and meet Phil at his shop, since some members of the Colombian Cartel tried to extort weapons out of Phil. Phil and Claude attack the Cartel men as they arrive and kill them, preventing them from stealing Phil's weapons. During this mission, Phil claims to have lost his arm in Nicaragua. In the credits for the game, he is listed as Phil the One-Armed Bandit.
He is also mentioned in Manhunt, by members of the Carcer City Police Department. One of their lines says:
- "Promised my little boy I would take him to Cassidy’s bargain firearms emporium tomorrow."
- ―CCPD officer
This implies he expanded his business over to Carcer City too, which is close to Liberty City.
VCPD Crime Tree Record
- Redneck arms dealer.
- Believed to be involved in weapons trade.
- Gun enthusiast. Member of various second amendment organizations and various Vice City gun clubs.
- Sources suggest he also distills "boomshine" in own stills.
- Fighting war with Mexican gun-running gangs.
- Linked with "Cam" Jones. Jones and Cassidy believed to have worked together numerous times although Cassidy has avoided convictions.
- Also believed Cassidy claims to have served in various divisions although Army records show he was repeatedly rejected for service because of drunkenness and an unsuitable temperament for combat.
- Phil's Army Surplus (GTA III)
- Phil's Place (GTA Vice City)
- Phil Cassidy's Fully Cocked Gun Shop (GTA Liberty City Stories)
- Phil's Depot (GTA Vice City Stories)
GTA Vice City
GTA Liberty City Stories
GTA Vice City Stories
- Cleaning House
- Conduct Unbecoming
- Cholo Victory (Boss)
- Boomshine Blowout (Boss)
- Truck Stop (Boss)
- Marked Men (Boss)
- Blitzkrieg Strikes Again
- Lost and Found (Post-mission pager message)
- Over The Top
- GTA Vice City Stories is the only GTA game where Phil has both arms for the entire storyline.
- Phil wears the same green outfit in his appearances in both GTA III and Liberty City Stories.
- Phil is one of two characters in the Grand Theft Auto series to physically appear in four different games. The other is Johnny Klebitz. Lazlow Jones has the most appearances, but he does not physically appear until GTA V.
- In the cutscene in the mission Boomshine Saigon, Phil is clearly seen having his right arm, not his left arm, blown off. This is likely simply a mistake in the creation of the cut scene. Successfully delivering Phil to his friend's place shows him correctly, missing his left arm and still having his right. Phil's later appearances also show him with his left arm missing and his right arm intact.
- That was probaly intentional. In every GTA game characters hold guns in the right arm, so Rockstar left his right arm intact, with his left blown. If in-game the right was blown instead, the weapon would float in GTA III.
- Phil tells Claude in a GTA III mission that if Claude fought with him in Nicaragua, he would still have his left arm, but in GTA: Vice City, his arm blows up in a Boomshine explosion. This is due to GTA: VC being released after GTA III, as Phil had a bigger role in the former and a lot more of his background was shown. Thus, his dialogue in GTA III was explained while delivering him to the hospital in GTA: Vice City, as he frequently makes comments as if he were in combat.
- Although it's assumed he never was in the army, he apparently has "flashbacks" of the Vietnam War when drunk.