Thin films produced by sputtering methods are used in many practical applications. This work aims at studying the failure mechanisms of thin hard coatings submitted to repeated impact conditions, with a special focus on the influence of the film thickness. Impact tests were carried out using a cyclic loading system developed in our laboratory. Steel balls (100Cr6) were used as impacting bodies. After tests, samples were observed by optical and scanning electron microscopy in order to investigate coating failure. The experimental work has permitted to identify blistering phenomena that has been related to the film mechanical properties and residual stress level. The influence of the film thickness is discussed and measurements of the residual stress in the buckled coatings have been performed using Raman spectroscopy to check the validity of our mechanical approach.