Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) were prepared by acid hydrolysis of cotton linter pulp fibers and three different purification methods, i.e., without post purification (CNC1), dialyzed against distilled water (CNC2), and neutralized with NaOH (CNC3), and their effect on film properties was evaluated by preparation of agar/CNCs composite films. All the CNCs were rod in shape with diameter of 15-50 nm and length of 210-480 nm. FTIR result indicated that there was no distinctive differences in the chemical structure between CNCs and cotton linter cellulose fiber. No significant relationship was observed between the sulfate content and crystallinity index of CNCs. The CNC3 showed higher thermal stability than the other type of CNCs due to the less adverse effect on the thermal stability of sulfate groups induced by the neutralization with NaOH. The tensile strength (TS) of agar film increased by 15% with incorporation of 5 wt% of CNC3, on the contrary, it decreased by 10% and 15% with incorporation of CNC1 and CNC2, respectively. Other performance properties of agar/CNCs composite films such as optical and water vapor barrier properties showed that the CNC3 was more effective filler than the other CNCs. In the range of concentration of CNC3 tested (1-10 wt%), inclusion of 5 wt% of CNC3 was the maximum concentration for improving or maintaining film properties of the composite films. The neutralization of acid hydrolyzed cellulose using NaOH was simple and convenient for the preparation of CNC and bionanocomposite films.