Polarized micro-Raman spectra of chemically vapour deposited diamond films are presented. It is shown that important parameters often extracted from the Raman spectra such as the ratio of the diamond to non-diamond component of the films and the estimation of the level of residual stress depend on the orientation of the diamond crystallites with respect to the polarization of the incident laser beam. The dependence originates from the fact that the Raman scattering from the non-diamond components in the films is almost completely depolarized whilst the scattering from the diamond components is strongly polarized. The results demonstrate the importance of taking polarization into account when attempting to use Raman spectroscopy in even a semi-quantitative fashion for the assessment of the purity, perfection and stress in CVD diamond films. 8 refs., 1 tab. 2 figs.