Thin La0.8A0.2Cu0.5Mn0.5O3 (A = Ca, Sr, Ba) films have been deposited using the sol-gel technique on Al2O3, glass ceramic and single crystal 〈101〉 quartz substrates. It was found that the morphology of pure and Ca containing films is affected by the type of substrate used. The films deposited on Al2O3 have good adhesion and uniform structure due to the rough surface of the substrate and its temperature expansion coefficient which has a value close to the corresponding one of the film. The morphology of Sr and Ba containing films is affected by both the type of substrate and substituting elements. The bigger ionic radius of these elements limits their incorporation in the crystal lattice and leads to the appearance of secondary phases and inhomogeneous films. © 1998 Elsevier Science S.A. All rights reserved.