Microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition (CVD) was used to grow nanocrystalline diamond films by adding nitrogen to a high density plasma defined by a high operating pressure (125 Torr) and high methane feedgas concentration (15% in a balance of hydrogen). Films grown at these conditions but without nitrogen exhibited well-faceted, high phase purity crystalline diamond while those grown with added nitrogen showed a nanocrystalline structure and were an order of magnitude smoother. The nitrogen-induced nanocrystalline films are believed to be comprised predominantly of diamond nanocrystallites in a matrix of tetrahedral amorphous carbon. The films were characterized by Raman spectroscopy, grazing-angle x-ray diffraction, surface profilometry, nano-indentation, electron microscopy, and pin-on-disc tribometry. In contrast to standard CVD conditions, the high density plasma results in adhered films on Ti-6Al-4V substrates even at substrate temperatures of 850°C. We present plasma optical emission spectroscopy results which are correlated with changes in the Raman spectra and the film microstructure. The hardness of the films (approx. 90 GPa), their low rms surface roughness (27 nm), and their good adhesion to the substrate makes these films potentially useful for tribological applications.