Optical anisotropy of polyimide films prepared from polyamic acid solutions was investigated by conoscopic observation and refractive index measurements. The conoscopic figure (crossed pattern) characteristic of a negative uniaxial crystal with its optic axis perpendicular to the film plane was observed for samples imidized on substrates. Uniaxial drawing of a polyamic acid cast film with 40 wt % solvent gave a highly oriented sample with an elongation of more than 80%. This sample had a conoscopic figure characteristic of a positive uniaxial crystal with its optic axis equivalent to the molecular c axis (parallel to the film plane). A large optical anisotropy (bire-fringence 0.18) was observed in the film plane. The TE-mode refractive index (parallel to the film plane) ranged from 1.64 to 1.82 at a wavelength of 633 nm according to the sample rotation. These values corresponded to the refractive indices perpendicular and parallel to the c axis, respectively. The optical system change of the polyimide film was explained in terms of the uniaxial orientation of the in-plane oriented molecular c axis.