In 1966, Dustin Hoffman was a 29-year-old struggling actor with a handful of small television and off-Broadway credits to his name. Less than one year later, he’d be cast as Benjamin Braddock in the 1967 film The Graduate—the role that would make him a movie star. But in 1966, when the young Hoffman went to 20th Century Fox for a personality and stock acting test, he had no idea that fame was only a few short months away.

In his personality test, Hoffman talked about his acting career and aspirations—as well as his difficulties in Hollywood. The actor talks candidly about his failures in the film business just before his first great success.

“I came here at the age of 21 with great hope and a lot of love for the business,” Hoffman told the Fox producers. “I was off-Broadway last season in a play called The Journey of the Fifth Horse, for which I received great critical acclaim … Since then, I’ve had nothing but bad luck.” Check out Hoffman’s screen test in the video above, filmed just before his luck changed.

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