In this work, Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) absorber layers were fabricated using a two-stage process. Sequentially deposited Cu-Zn-Sn thin film layers on metallic foils were annealed in an Ar + S-2(g) atmosphere. We aimed to investigate the role of flexible titanium and molybdenum foil substrates in the growth mechanism of CZTS thin films. The Raman spectra and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analyses of the sulfurized thin films revealed that, except for the presence of Sn-based secondary phases, nearly pure CZTS thin films were obtained. Additionally, the intense and sharp X-ray diffraction peak from the (112) plane provided evidence of good crystallinity. Electron dispersive spectroscopy analysis indicated sufficient sulfur content but poor Zn atomic weight percentage in the films. Absorption and band-gap energy analyses were carried out to confirm the suitability of CZTS thin films as the absorber layer in solar cell applications. Hall effect measurements showed the p-type semiconductor behavior of the CZTS samples. Moreover, the back contact behavior of these metallic flexible substrates was investigated and compared. We detected formation of cracks in the CZTS layer on the molybdenum foils, which indicates the incompatibility of molybdenum's thermal expansion coefficient with the CZTS structure. We demonstrated the application of the magnetron sputtering technique for the fabrication of CZTS thin films on titanium foils having lightweight, flexible properties and suitable for roll-to-roll manufacturing for high throughput fabrication. Titanium foils are also cost competitive compared to molybdenum foils. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.