The objective was to investigate the suitable polymeric films for the development of diltiazem hydrochloride (diltiazem HCl) transdermal drug delivery systems. Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) and ethylcellulose (EC) were used as hydrophilic and hydrophobic film formers, respectively. Effects of HPMC/EC ratios and plasticizers on mechanical properties of free films were studied. Effects of HPMC/EC ratios on moisture uptake, in vitro release and permeation through pig ear skin of diltiazem HCl films were evaluated. Influence of enhancers including isopropyl myristate (IPM), isopropyl palmitate (IPP), N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, oleic acid, polyethylene glycol 400, propylene glycol, and Tween80 on permeation was evaluated. It was found that addition of EC into HPMC film produced lower ultimate tensile strength, percent elongation at break and Young's modulus, however, addition of EC up to 60% resulted in too hard film. Plasticization with dibutyl phthalate (DBP) produced higher strength but lower elongation as compared to triethyl citrate. The moisture uptake and initial release rates (0-1 h) of diltiazem HCl films decreased with increasing the EC ratio. Diltiazem HCl films (10:0, 8:2 and 6:4 HPMC/EC) were studied for permeation because of the higher release rate. The 10:0 and 8:2 HPMC/EC films showed the comparable permeation-time profiles, and had higher flux values and shorter lag time as compared to 6:4 HPMC/EC film. Addition of IPM, IPP or Tween80 could enhance the fluxes for approx. three times while Tween80 also shorten the lag time. In conclusion, the film composed of 8:2 HPMC/EC, 30% DBP and 10% IPM, IPP or Tween80 loaded with 25% diltiazem HCl should be selected for manufacturing transdermal patch by using a suitable adhesive layer and backing membrane. Further in vitro permeation and in vivo performance studies are required.