GaN films were grown on c-plane sapphire by plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy (PAMBE). The effect of N/Ga flux ratio on structural, morphological, and optical properties was studied. The dislocation density found to increase with increasing the N/Ga ratio. The surface morphology of the films as seen by scanning electron microscopy shows pits on the surface and found that the pit density on the surface increases with N/Ga ratio. The room temperature photoluminescence study reveals the shift in band-edge emission toward the lower energy with increase in N/Ga ratio. This is believed to arise from the reduction in compressive stress in the films as is evidenced by room temperature Raman study. The transport studied on the Pt/GaN Schottky diodes showed a significant increase in leakage current with an increase in N/Ga ratio and was found to be caused by the increase in pit density as well as increase in dislocation density in the GaN films. © 2011 American Institute of Physics.