Thermal stress evolution in polycrystalline thin films is analyzed using discrete dislocation plasticity. Stress develops in the film during cooling from a stress-free configuration due to the difference in thermal expansion coefficient between the film and its substrate. A plane strain formulation with only edge dislocations is used and each grain of the polycrystal has a specified set of slip systems. The film–substrate interface and the grain boundaries are impenetrable for the dislocations. Results are presented for two film thicknesses, with higher hardening seen for the thinner films.