Lanthanum modified lead titanate (Pb1−xLaxTi1−x/4O3) PLTx (x=0.08 i.e. PLT8) sol–gel derived thin films have been prepared on indium tin oxide (ITO) coated glass and quartz substrates using lead acetate trihydrate, lanthanum acetate hydrate and titanium isopropoxide as precursors along with 2-methoxyethanol as solvent and acetic acid as catalyst by spin coating method. The microstructure and surface morphology of the films annealed at 650 °C have been studied by X-ray diffraction technique and atomic force microscope (AFM). XRD has shown a single phase with tetragonal structure and AFM images have confirmed a smooth and crack-free surface with low surface roughness. The dependence of leakage current on applied voltage show ohmic behavior at low field region with a space charge conduction mechanism at high fields. The wavelength dispersion curve of thin films obtained from the transmission spectrum of thin films show that the films have high optical transparency in the visible region.