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Nathaniel Burke is the main antagonist of the 1997 superhero film Steel.

He was portrayed by Judd Nelson.


In Steel, Nathaniel Burke is a genius criminal who is the arch-enemy of Steel.

Burke hatches a plot to sell Irons' weapons to criminal gangs. Late, Irons witnesses a bank robbery organized by gang members wielding Burke's modified guns.

In the end of the film, Burke prepares to auction off all his modified weapons to every criminal organization in the world over the Internet. When Irons is released from jail, Sparky is captured by Burke's thugs. Irons, as Steel, attempts to infiltrate Burke's headquarters, but is captured himself in the process. When Burke continues with the auction, he is tricked by Steel, which allows him and Sparks to rebel and destroy Burke's lair. Burke himself is killed when a laser he fires towards Steel reflects back towards him due to Steel's suit and crushes him under flaming debris.


Nathaniel Burke is a vicious and greedy sociopath who partakes in criminal activities. Although he was once friends with Irons in the military, his desire to see Irons' weapons at their most powerful, completely disregarding the dangers of that, led to the two no longer being on speaking terms by the time they were out of service. Caring only about himself and no one else, he showed no remorse when his ex-colleague, Sparky, was paralyzed thanks to him overloading one of Irons' sonic weapons to cause debris to fall on her, also killing a visiting senator which he also shows no remorse for. He shows no regard for the well-being of his own allies and minions, and is sometimes willing to kill them should they fail or question him, as a secretary and failed assassin found out the hard way.