Magnetotransport properties in low-doped La1-xBaxMnO3 thin films were investigated. The bulk La1-xBaxMnO3 (x=0.05 and 0.1) compounds are insulating, but an insulator–metal transition was observed in the strained thin films deposited on SrTiO3(100) substrates. At x=0.05, magnetization measurements revealed a transition from spin canting in bulk to ferromagnetic order in thin film. Moreover, a large magnetoresistance effect was obtained in the thin film with x=0.1 at room temperature and in a low magnetic field. A strain-induced modification of eg orbital stability was proposed to explain these properties. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.