The residual stress in solution derived Pb(Zr.53Ti.47)o3, PZT 53:47, films was determined by measuring the bending of the substrate due to the stress. The substrate consisted of an oxidized (100) silicon wafer with 300 nm coating of platinum. In all cases the stress was tensile. Films fired at a temperature in the range where pyrochlore formation occurs (500° to 575°C) had the highest residual stresses, 200 to 350 MPa, whereas those fired at higher temperatures, 600° to 650°C, where the perovskite phase forms had stresses of 100 to 200 MPa. Stress measurements made during film firing indicate that the pyrochlore containing films had higher residual stress because their coefficient of thermal expansion was much larger than that of predominantly perovskite films. The effect of the amount of stress on ferroelectric properties was studied by making measurements on a film with and without the application of an external stress. The external stress was applied by bending a circular section of the substrate, which effectively lowered the amount of tensile stress in the film by ∼30%. Decreasing the stress in this manner was found to increase the remanent polarization by ∼11% and the dielectric constant by ∼2%.