Résumé : This paper reports on the theoretical and experimental studies of structure formation and strengthening (stiffening) of flexible-chain polymers. Two techniques of strengthening relying on the melt extrusion, i.e., orientational crystallization (crystallization initiated by melt extension) and drawing (uniaxial stretching of a crystallized polymer) are analysed by theory. The experiments involved preparation and study of melt extruded films and film fibers of linear polyethylene formed by the two techniques mentioned above. The effect of the degree of orientation and other parameters of the formation processes on the mechanical characteristics and the factors limiting the ultimate values of these characteristics are discussed. It is shown that multistage drawing succeeds in achieving a higher tensile strength and elastic modulus (1.2 and 35 GPa, respectively) than the orientational crystallization, which gives 0.8 and 15 GPa. The strengthening by drawing is accompanied by microcrack formation. In contrast, no discontinuities are observed in orientationally crystallized samples up to their ultimate extension.