Thin films for magnetic recording are usually deposited on metallic Cr underlayers to control their crystallographic texture and other microstructural features such as grain size and crystal perfection. In this paper, the mechanisms involved in the production of thin films (both underlayers and magnetic layers) with specific crystallographic textures is reviewed and discussed. We first present an overview of a model for the development of the initial crystallographic texture of films grown on amorphous substrates. The textures that various films develop during growth are next discussed followed by a review of the role of epitaxy of Co-alloy films on Cr with underlayers and interlayers. The control of grain size of the magnetic film is also discussed in light of the underlayer grain size. Finally, the role of epitaxy on crystalline perfection and subgrain structure is discussed.