Chromium nitride (CrN) films were deposited on Si wafers by arc ion plating at various negative bias voltages and several groups of N2/Ar gas flux ratios and chamber gas pressures. The authors systematically investigated the influence of negative bias voltage on the synthesis, composition, microstructure, and properties of the arc ion plating (AIP) CrN films. In this article, the authors investigated the influence of negative bias voltage on the chemical composition, structure, and mechanical properties of the CrN films. The results showed that the chemical composition and phase structure of the AIP CrN films were greatly altered by application of negative bias voltage. Due to the selective resputtering effect, substoichiometric CrN films were obtained. With increase in bias voltages, the main phases in the films transformed from Cr+CrN to Cr2N at low N2/Ar flow ratios, whereas the films at high N2/Ar flow ratios retained the CrN phase structure. The CrN films experienced texture transformation from CrN (200) to CrN (220), and Cr2N (300) to Cr2N(300)+Cr2N(110). Increase in negative bias voltage also resulted in microstructure evolution of coarse columnar grains→fine columnar grains→quasiamorphous microstructure→recrystallized structures. From the experimental results, the authors proposed a new structure zone model based on enhanced bombardme- - nt of incident ions by application of negative bias voltage. The influence of negative bias voltage on the microhardness and residual stresses of the films and the inherent mechanisms were also explored.