The mechanical response of a specimen incorporating thin films is dictated by a combination of fundamental mechanical parameters such as Young's moduli of the individual layers, and by configurational parameters such as adhesion strength at the interface(s), residual stress distribution and other process dependent factors. In most systems, the overall response will be dominated by the properties of the (much thicker) substrate. Failure within the individual layers, on the other hand, is dependent on the local strain distributions and can not be predicted from the substrate values alone. To better understand the mechanical response of these systems, the strain within the individual layers of the thin film system must be measured and correlated with applied stresses. Phase selectivity of X-ray stress/strain analysis techniques is well suited for this purpose. In this paper, we will review the use of the traditional x-ray stress/strain analysis methods for the determination of the mechanical properties of thin film systems.