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In this paper we report results on the synthesis and magnetic properties of L10 FePt nanocomposite films. Three fabrication methods have been developed to produce high-anisotropy FePt films: non-epitaxial growth of (0 0 1)-oriented FePt:X (X=Ag, C) composite films that might be used for perpendicular media; monodispersed FePt(CFx) core–shell nanocluster-assembled films grown with a gas-aggregation technique and having uniform cluster size and narrow size distribution; and template-mediated self-assembled FePt clusters prepared with chemical synthesis by a hydrogen reduction technique, which has a high potential for controlling both cluster size and orientation. The magnetic properties are controllable through variations in the nanocluster properties and nanostructure. Analytical and numerical simulations have been done for these films, providing better understanding of the magnetization reversal mechanisms. The films show promise for development as magnetic recording media at extremely high areal densities.