A cathodic arc with beam filter is employed for the deposition of hydrogen-free amorphous carbon films. A linear filter is used to prevent macroparticles and nonionized carbon atoms from reaching the substrate. The deposited films are characterized by their optical and mechanical behavior. Depending on the deposition conditions, optical band gaps in the range 2.1-2.4 eV are measured. Mechanical properties are investigated using the nanoindentation method and are shown to approach those of natural diamond. To our knowledge, the data obtained thus far reveal these films to be more diamondlike than those prepared using any other method for the deposition of nonhydrogenated amorphous diamond.