The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of crystallite preferred orientation on the mechanical strength of TiCN thin films in highly compressive residual stress. TiCN thin films were deposited by PVD on JIS-SKH55 (AISI M35) steel. The applied substrate bias voltages were set for –50, -80, -100, -120 and –150V. Subsequently, residual stress and crystalline preferred orientation of these specimens were investigated by X-ray diffraction methodology. The crystalline preferred orientation in thin films was evaluated by the ODF calculated from pole figures. On the other hand, dynamic hardness test (DH) and scratch test were executed to evaluate the mechanical strength of thin films. In our study, it was observed that negative bias voltages had an effect on the preferred orientation. The orientation density at –120V was the highest of all specimens. In addition, the value of scratch section area at –120V was the largest of all specimens. As a conclusion, the relation between the scratch area and the negative bias voltages corresponded to the relation between the preferred orientation and the bias voltages.