This article aims to investigate the Raman modes present in Mn-doped ZnO thin films that are deposited using the magnetron co-sputtering method. A broad band ranging from 500 to 590 cm−1 is present in the Raman spectra of heavily Mn-doped ZnO films. The multi-peak-fitting results show that this broad band may be composed of six peaks, and the peak at 528 cm−1 could be a characteristic mode of Mn2O3. The results of this study suggest that the origin of the Raman peaks in Mn-doped ZnO films may be due to three major types: structural disorder and morphological changes caused by the Mn dopant, Mn-related oxides and intrinsic host-lattice defects. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.