Thin sputtered films of binary (Ni–Ti) and ternary (Ni–Ti–Hf and Ni–Ti–Cu) shape memory alloys have been subjected to nanoindentation over a range of temperature (up to 400 °C), using a small diameter spherical indenter. The load-displacement plots obtained during these experiments have been interpreted so as to reveal whether the imposed strain was being at least partly accommodated by the martensitic phase transformation, ie whether superelastic deformation was taking place. This was done by evaluating the remnant indent depth ratio (depth after unloading/depth at peak load), which is expected to have a relatively small value if superelastic deformation and recovery are significant. It is confirmed that this procedure, which has previously been validated for bulk material, can be applied to these thin films (~ 2 µm in thickness). The results indicate that ternary alloys with up to about 20 at.%Hf or 10 at.%Cu can exhibit superelastic behaviour over suitable temperature ranges.