Films based on methylcellulose (MC) and pectin (PEC) of different ratios were prepared. MC/PEC (90:10) (MP10) gave the best results in terms of mechanical properties. Sodium montmorillonite (MMT) (1, 3 and 5 wt%) was incorporated in the MP10 matrix. The resulting films were characterized by X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy, and it was found that nanocomposites were intercalated in nature. Mechanical studies established that addition of 3 wt% MMT gave best results in terms of mechanical properties. However, thermo-gravimetric and dynamic mechanical analysis proved that decomposition and glass transition temperature increased with increasing MMT concentration from 1 to 5 wt%. It was also observed that moisture absorption and water vapor permeability studies gave best result in the case of 3 wt% MMT. Optical clarity of the nanocomposite films was not much affected with loading of MMT. In vitro drug release studies showed that MC/PEC/MMT based films can be used for controlled transdermal drug delivery applications. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.