The tartaric acid (TA)/polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) composite films were prepared with various TA concentrations from 5 to 20 wt%. The crosslinking due to TA improved the tensile characteristics such as tensile strength and the Young's modulus, and thermal stability of the films. The addition of TA in PVA led to a decrease in the crystallinity. Application of prestretching or preliminary deformation resulted in significant changes in both stress-strain behavior and tensile characteristics of both pure PVA and TA/PVA composite films. Although low preextension levels such as 5% strain did not change much the tensile characteristics, higher preextension levels improved the tensile strength but decreased the extensibility of the films. The recovery processes of the stretched films consisted of a fast recovery process for which most of the recoverable elastic deformation is seen took place within almost 30 min and a time-dependent long-lasting recovery process continued in time very slowly, which resulted in undesirable residual deformation. It was also observed that increasing TA concentration accelerated the recovery process, hence, improved the recovery properties of PVA. The use of TA in the membrane applications can be considered to improve the mechanical properties and reusability of the membrane technology.