Abstract Three-point method has been used to measure bending strength σf of optical quality and opaque polycrystalline diamond films with thickness in the broad range of h=0.06–1.0mm grown by microwave plasma CVD. The free-standing films were characterized with microRaman spectroscopy, SEM, and optical profilography. For transparent samples the value of σf is found to approach 2200MPa for thinnest sample when the substrate side is under tensile stress, reducing with film thickness to 600MPa at h≈1000μm, while for substrate side under the tension exhibits the strength a factor of two lower. The material tested shows transcrystallite fracture and the strength increase with grain size reduction. Also evaluated are Young modulus E=1072±153GPa, and the Weibull moduli m=6.4 and m=4.5 for the growth and substrate sides under tension, respectively. In contrast, the (100) textured black diamond films with pronounced columnar structure demonstrate intergranular fracture mode due to relatively weak (with non-diamond carbon component) grain boundaries, lower fracture surface roughness, and the two times lower strength compared to the “white” diamond.