In this work, the fracture behavior of a multi-layered thin film structure under residual tensile stress is investigated theoretically. Using composite material theory and a modified shear-lag model, the analytical solutions for the distribution laws of the tensile stress developed in the first-layer thin film and the shear stress developed along the interface can be obtained. In addition, the crack density of the first-layer thin film can be derived from the residual stress and the mechanical and geometric parameters of the cracked system. This result also yields a measurement of the residual stress from the crack density and the mechanical and geometric parameters of the system. Finally, a numerical example is presented to show how the crack density varies versus the residual stress.