Tin oxide (SnO2) thin films were deposited on sapphire (0001) substrate by metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) at temperatures of 600 and 700 °C. The microstructure of the deposited films was characterized by x-ray diffraction (XRD) and high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM). At the growth conditions studied, films were single-phase rutile and epitaxial, but showed variant structures. Three distinct in-plane epitaxial relationships were observed between the films and the substrate. A crystallographic model is proposed to explain the film morphology. This model can successfully predict the ratio of the width to the length of an averaged grain size based upon the lattice mismatch of the film-substrate interface.